A Campus–Community Partnership for Farmworkers’ Health: Interventions for Tomato Workers in Tennessee

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1-1-2014


Background: Migrant farm workers are exposed to job hazards in Tennessee, which is among the top five tomato-producing states.

Objectives: This project sought to cultivate and evaluate a partnership to marshal greater resources to address migrants’ concerns and to better prepare future health professionals to address occupational issues.

Methods: In the spring of 2008, an interprofessional student–faculty team at a regional university catalyzed a partnership with a clinic for migrants and a national network caring for the itinerant underserved.

Results: Several community-based participatory research (CBPR) activities are underway. The partnership has resulted in the following projects: Use of the Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) method to identify job tasks likely to be injurious, development and use of a health screening questionnaire to capture more information about occupational health, and continuing education seminars for providers and a case-based curriculum module for third-year medical students.

Conclusions: Interprofessional service learning about migrant occupational health issues may have its greatest impact as participating students enter the regional workforce, caring for patients employed in slow-to-change agricultural operations.