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Farm Worker Project

The Emory PA Program is proud of its history of collaboration with 
The South Georgia Farmworker Health Project

red tractor

2017 Reflections - Gnats, mosquitoes, and hot days equal the best experience of an Emory Physician Assistant student’s senior career!  Emory PA students working under the direction of physicians from the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory School of Medicine, and PA-C faculty traveled to South Georgia to provide free health services to migrant farm workers and their families.   

Each day despite the very hot weather, students kindly and gracefully served the farmworkers.  They smiled with them, laughed with them, and made jokes (with the help of their interpreters!).  Connections were made that surpassed socio-economic backgrounds, race, and language.  I have never witnessed a more beautiful exchange between fellow human beings and was deeply impressed by how our students represented Emory. 

Professional interpreters helped carry boxes off of our cargo trucks. Attendings stuffed goodie bags with socks, water bottles, and condoms. Teens from TeenCorp filled bags with canned food and cleaning products. Senior citizens from the local community unloaded boxes filled with donated clothing. Children of the volunteers (dragged along on their summer break) found craft ideas on YouTube for the children of the migrant farmers. Young adults brought moments of joy to small children by painting their faces and by rocking babies to sleep while singing lullabies. Local churches cooked famous southern cuisine for the hard working volunteers.  If you stood still in the center of what might appear to be chaos, you'd feel an energy, a cadence of sorts that was palpable.  People doing good just because because they chose to-that’s what’s so terrific about this project. It touches every single person involved in such a moving way.  Even on the longest of days this momentum propels you to continue to do the work that brought you to Emory in the first place.

In just two weeks, Emory's interdisciplinary approach to service learning made it possible to provide health services for 1,531 patients. The team included 50 Emory physician assistant students, 50 Emory physical therapy students, 25 Emory medical students, 25 Valdosta State University marriage and family therapy students, 30 Mercer University physician assistant students, 25 Bainbridge College nursing students, and 41 spanish and creole medical interpreters.

So you see, the success of the project is not solely in the number of patients that are served, it’s in the number of volunteers who have been touched in a positive way and go on to stir others with this same inspiration.  On and on and on, this “good” spirals upwards…maybe one person really can change the world.

                                                                                                                                                                         ~Alisha Thym, MA  Community Projects Coordinator

white bus

About the Project

The South Georgia Farmworker Health Project has become an important service-learning component of the PA Program, providing free care to over 1,500 farmworkers and their families in pop-up clinics each June. The Project seeks to not only provide care to the medically underserved, but to also increase the students’ awareness of the global food system and fair food policies. The Project gives all those involved a better understanding of food production and its impact on our society.

Founded in 1996 by Tom Himelick, PA-C, MMSc, the South Georgia Farmworker Health Project was developed in in collaboration with the Southwest Georgia Area Health Education Center (SOWEGA) and The Georgia Farmworker Health Program (State Office of Primary Care). The initial one week pop-up clinic provided care to 150 farmworkers.

The growth of the Project has documented the need for free medical services in South Georgia, and has contributed to the expansion of on-going services for farmworkers in Echols, Lowndes and Decatur counties. We celebrate our partnership with the Decatur County Health Department in growing the program.

Our Partners

Our efforts in South Georgia would not be possible without the assistance of our many dedicated partners. We greatly appreciate the organizations, individuals, and companies that have joined us in providing care to this underserved population. Please take a moment to learn more about our partners.

Recognitions/Awards

2003 Finalist-Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration.

2010 AAPA-American Academy of Physician Assistants Award

2011 Outstanding Service/Volunteer Program of the Year

Publications

"In the Field with the South Georgia Farmworker Health Project", Emory Alumni Newsletter

"Field Clinics", Emory Medicine Newsletter Spring 2015

"Delivering HealthCare in the Field", PA Professional December 2009

Social Media

SGFHP Facebook Page

Teen Corps Facebook Page

Would you like to make a donation?

Medications, vitamins, clothing and other items (i.e., sunglasses, caps, toothbrushes, toothpaste) have been graciously donated by corporate partners in the past. This is an ongoing need for the project.  For more information on items needed or to offer a donation, please contact us at alisha.smith@emory.edu

"Field of Dreams": a students' reflection 

Morning Cup of Hope volunteers

Morning Cup of Hope PA faculty

Farmworker

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