Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) has launched a free health clinic for migrant farmworkers at the Sin Fronteras Border Farmworkers’ Center.
TTUHSC El Paso faculty started the clinic as part of the Longitudinal Primary Care Track (LCPT) – Scholars in Primary Care, a program that provides 20 medical students with the opportunity to care for underserved populations, specifically, migrant farmworkers.
“It has been a real eye-opener; the center has been very welcoming to us and we are learning a great deal about the history and the plight of the workers,” says Charmaine Martin, M.D., who started LCPT. Dr. Martin is an associate professor in TTUHSC El Paso’s Department of Family and Community Medicine.
Since November, LCPT students have visited the Border Farmworkers’ Center to help treat farmworkers with basic health care services. The clinic takes place on Thursday nights with students and supervising doctors sometimes staying as late as 10:30 p.m.
Dr. Martin started the program to spark medical students’ interest in primary care, but also to expose them to the poor and often underserved community of migrant farmworkers.
About 12,000 farmworkers from Mexico currently work in the Southern New Mexico-El Paso region in agricultural labor. On average, each farmworker makes $9,000 a year for a family of four; well below $23,850 — the poverty level of a family of four living in the U.S.
The clinic is supported by a $330,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), but students and faculty are looking for community partners to assist with the program. They are also requesting donations to help meet the needs of the clinic.