Migrant & Seasonal
Agricultural Farmworker Program
Migrant & Seasonal Agricultural Farmworker Program
Migrant and seasonal agricultural worker health services
Our Roots Are in the Fields
Each summer morning in Illinois, thousands of men, women and children rise before the sun and set off for the fields. Many of them travel great distances to Illinois to put food on our tables. In turn, we ensure that these workers have access to the healthcare and services they need.
Nearly forty years ago, our teams of community health workers and nurses, some of whom remain with CHP to this day, began reaching out to workers from the endless rows of asparagus in Ogle County to the gladiolus fields near Kankakee, planting the seeds of what would become Community Health Partnership of Illinois (CHP).
CHP has grown a lot since then, and so has our impact. Each day, our Care Teams work tirelessly to provide quality primary healthcare for these men, women and children. Our network of health and dental clinics across northern and central Illinois serves over 8,000 agricultural workers and family members each year with dignity and kindness.
But our impact doesn’t stop there. Beginning in 2020, CHP now offers primary preventative healthcare to anyone who seeks such care. CHP is uniquely positioned to serve rural communities that lacked access to quality primary care, welcoming people from all walks of life at all CHP Health Centers. Our sliding fee scale makes quality healthcare possible for those who need our care most, and we never turn away anyone who seeks out our services, regardless of their ability to pay.
Promotores de salud
When we sent our first promotores de salud out into the community in 1996, we soon saw that we were on to something big: an award-winning program that would fundamentally change how we connect with and care for our communities.
Our promotores de salud are peer health educators, advocates and navigators for the communities we serve. They are the crucial link between CHP’s healthcare services and the agricultural workers and families who reside in isolated areas.
Over the years, our promotores de salud have helped their communities improve oral health knowledge and practices, reduce substance abuse and intimate partner violence, increase HIV testing, pesticide awareness and prevention, and improve cancer screening and early detection rates, all through peer-led interventions. They have also helped us better understand the occupational safety risks that are unique to agricultural workers.
We are grateful to have such an amazing team of peer advocates and wouldn’t be the organization we are today without them.
Promotores help CHP by:
- Reporting back from the field and letting us know what’s important to the health of each community by conducting research, administering surveys and identifying unmet needs.
- Educating their peers via health promotion and wellness conversations. Promotores reinforce the importance of ongoing preventive care, like annual Pap smears, colon cancer screening and wellness services for children.
- Keeping individuals healthy by identifying those in need of additional care for chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension. Promotores connect patients to CHP and other healthcare professionals.
- Keeping the community healthy by promoting safe workplace practices, conducting workplace safety training and modeling safe practices.
- Mental health awareness outreach that our promotores de salud currently provide brings awareness about existing services otherwise not known.
Migrant and seasonal head start and migrant education
As part of our ongoing outreach work, CHP provides comprehensive medical, dental and behavioral health, health screenings, and school physicals to children enrolled in Migrant Education and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs throughout Illinois.
We work closely with each program partner and center to ensure that every child receives the health services they need. Our medical teams conduct onsite health screenings. We work closely with center and school staff to identify children who may require additional resources. As part of our ongoing collaboration with these programs, we maintain a presence at Head Start and Migrant Education “Open House” events and encourage our clinic staff to serve on the Head Start center’s Health Services Advisory Committee. In fact, three of CHP’s board members are current or former Migrant and Seasonal Head Start or Migrant Education Program employees.
Unlike most Head Start programs, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start serves children from birth through five years of age, mainly during the growing season, from June through October. The Rantoul Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Center now serves as one of our seasonal sites so that we may address and co-manage pediatric health issues.
The Illinois Migrant Education Program serves children aged three to 21, from those enrolled in pre-k to out of school youth who are beyond high school age but have not yet completed high school. CHP partners with the Illinois State Board of Education to provide health and dental services to students enrolled in the Migrant Education Program. We serve between 300 to 400 students each year through this program utilizing portable equipment to provide preventive dental and medical services at the schools. Referral to CHP’s health center sites and to community partner dental clinics are scheduled as needed.