A Look at the Moultrie Farmworker Family Health Program at 26

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | June 25, 2019

Story image
Emory Nursing students and faculty spent the past two weeks in Moultrie, Georgia providing vital health care to farm workers and their children as a part of the Farmworker Family Health Program (FWFHP). This summer marked the 26th anniversary of the immersion trip, as the program successfully introduced new initiatives, a new leadership team, new programs and new procedures.

The team of students and faculty assessed and treated 753 farmworkers and their children, including 471 adults and 282 children. They uncovered major illnesses, successfully referring and treating two men in particular, linked many workers with the Ellenton Clinic for follow-up and provided necessary health education around recognizing signs of heat illness, diabetes and hypertension risk, and proper foot and skin care. The clinic also provided an interprofessional learning environment for 96 health professions students including 16 undergraduate nursing students, 11 APRN students, 17 pharmacy students, 27 physical therapy students and 25 dental hygiene students.

A $5,000 fundraising goal was also surpassed with help from the Advancement and Alumni Engagement team. “This money, combined with other donations from our partners, made it possible to purchase and give out boots, hygiene kits, and linens to all who needed them,” said Erin Ferranti, PhD, MPH, RN, FAHA, assistant professor and director of FWFHP.

New 2019 initiatives included the organization of 18+ years of legacy data and real-time data entry of all health documentation into RedCap, headed by Clinical Instructor Lori Modly, RN, and her data team. This initiative is Modly’s project for her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and is funded by the School of Nursing’s Center for Data Science. In addition, a survey research study on heat illness knowledge, recognition and current behavior was implemented with the resulting data being used to inform tailored heat illness education and intervention programs for this population. This initiative was aided by Valerie Mac, PN, PhD, and PhD students Daniel Smith, BSN, BA, RN and Roxana Chicas, BSN, RN. Lastly, the Nurses Alumni Association hosted a packing and celebration send-off party.

Ferranti also credits the program’s success to her co-director, Laura Layne, RN, MSN, MPH, and their director-emeritus and mentor, Judy Wold, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN. “The success of the FWFHP requires a full team effort and I am incredibly grateful to all,” says Ferranti, “including the LCC administrative team, the School of Nursing building and facilities team, our faculty team, our TA Molly Murphy, our fundraising team and donors, our volunteers, and our amazing students.”

The Farm Worker Family Health Program is an interprofessional, in-country cultural immersion service learning experience. Each summer in June, select undergraduate and graduate students from the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, University of Georgia School of Pharmacy, Georgia State University and Brenau University Departments of Physical Therapy, Clayton State University and Central Georgia Tech College Departments of Dental Hygiene spend two weeks delivering vital health care to farm workers and their children in a farming community in southwest Georgia.