Students work on farm safety training for immigrant dairy workers

Students work on farm safety training for immigrant dairy workers

Students worked on Seguridad en las Lecherias, a project that is testing appropriate safety training for immigrant dairy workers

The National Farm Medicine Center hosted two students this summer as part of a national internship program providing practical experience in the field of occupational safety.

Interns Elizabeth Steiner and Katherine Zielke spent eight weeks at the Farm Center, a program of Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wis. They worked primarily on Seguridad en las Lecherias (Safety in Dairies), a project that is testing culturally appropriate occupational safety and health training for immigrant dairy workers.

Steiner and Zielke came to the Farm Center as part of the Occupational Health Internship Program, an initiative of the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics.

Students work on farm safety training for immigrant dairy workers

Steiner is entering her junior year at Boston College, where she is majoring in theology and Hispanic studies. Zielke recently graduated from Emory University with a master's degree in public health. Zielke also is a registered nurse.

"It is our second year of hosting young scholars interested in working on the health and safety of farming populations," said Matthew Keifer, MD, MPH, director of the National Farm Medicine Center. "They contribute a great deal of fresh ideas."

Through the project, Steiner and Zielke conducted Hispanic dairy worker safety training, administered surveys to farmers and workers, entered surveys onto the Farm Center's database and analyzed the data. They also developed a resource guide/map of social services available in Wisconsin for English and Spanish-speaking workers.

"Visiting farms and evaluating data gave me great insight into the incredible complexity of managing a farm," Zielke said, "as well as the occupational hazards and obstacles that farmworkers face, especially immigrant farmworkers."

Steiner said she didn't know quite what to expect coming in, but that she leaves with, "a rekindled passion for farmworker and immigrant justice, an understanding of occupational health challenges in agriculture, and an appreciation of the diligence of people who work every day to produce our food."

Source: National Farm Medicine Center

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