Night time clinic treats migrant workers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Night time clinic treats migrant workers

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June 18, 2003


Moultrie- Blanca Ibarra wants to make sure her smile is healthy.

"About a year ago they put a filling on my tooth, and I came over here to have them check it," Ibarra said through a translator at the clinic.

That's why she traveled all the way from Texas to visit family, who are migrant farmers here, and take advantage of the Farm Worker Family Health Project.

"We see they give good health service and we take advantage of it," she said.

The clinic is a partnership between Emory University and the Ellenton Clinic in Colquitt County that provides healthcare for farmers.

"Workers migrating up the farm streams with the crops generally don't have healthcare in every place that they migrate to," said Judith Wold, a professor at Georgia State and visiting scholar at Emory University.

Nursing, dental hygiene, physical therapy and psychology students spend two weeks treating about 500 migrant farmers at night and 500 school children during the day.

"We go out to where they are so when they get off the fields at 8 o'clock, 9 o'clock at night, they can come see us," said Amie Lockhart, a registered nurse in Albany and a master's student at Emory.

Students set up camp around five thirty and spend the rest of the night treating mostly foot fungus and oral hygiene problems. They see patients until there's no one left to treat.

"It's a wonderful experience," Lockhart said. I mean, you get great assessment experience, you get to see and meet a lot of different people. It's basically a different culture."

As for Blanca, she brushes twice a day, so her teeth were fine. When she travels home to Texas, she'll go with a healthy smile.

posted at 10:32 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com