UVM Extension Migrant Health Programs address individual and systemic barriers faced by migrant workers and their families which prevent them from attaining their full potential for health and well-being.
We are committed to developing, coordinating and implementing community-based outreach initiatives and services which contribute to health and health equity within designated migrant communities at local and statewide levels.
Programs include grant-funded and philanthropically-supported projects.
From April 2022 to March 2023, Migrant Health Programs (MHP) staff worked with over 852 individuals and over 125 of them were children. Services provided included home-based medical care, financial assistance and health insurance program enrollment, prenatal care, and chronic health condition management.
Community Health Workers (CHW) coordinated a fall immunization campaign in collaboration with health care partners bringing vaccine education and clinics to worksites and homes of nearly 400 individuals.
CHW’s partnered with food access programs and community-based volunteers to deliver community supported agriculture (CSA) shares, food boxes and meals on regular basis to 264 individuals across 81 households.
Through Huertas, a UVM Extension kitchen garden project, project directors and student interns worked with 26 households to grow a variety of culturally familiar produce, herbs and flowers using plant donations from commercial and home growers.
2010: UVM Extension began health outreach with Latino migrant dairy workers in Franklin County, Vermont through the first of a series of HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) Office of Rural Health Policy Outreach Programs Grants led by the Bi-State Primary Care Association (BSPCA).
The Huertas kitchen garden project started in Franklin County fostered farmworker access to land, plant starts and tools. Over the next decade, in close collaboration with a range of organizations including UVM Extension’s Migrant Education Program, the Open Door Clinic (ODC) and BSPCA, Migrant Health Programs grew both the reach and scope of Bridges to Health, a health access, promotion and outreach program created to serve Latino agricultural workers across the state.
Collaborations enhance programming. The Most Costly Journey is a series of stories told by Vermont migrant farmworkers, drawn by local cartoonists, and shared by outreach staff as a way to explore shared mental health challenges and stories of resilience.
With limited grant and donor funds, core programming activities were sustained by hiring very part-time bilingual staff serving as health promoters/community health workers in key regions of the state.
2020: Migrant Health Programs recognized a gap in accessible COVID-related services for both Latino and Jamaican agricultural workers. MHP expanded services, partnering with the Vermont Department of Health to support access to COVID-related information.
MHP staff disseminated public health guidance and supplies, stood up mobile testing kits to provide on-farm testing, and coordinated on-farm vaccine clinics with partners from around the state. Extension Collaborative on Immunization Teaching & Engagement (EXCITE) funds helped sustain vaccine outreach efforts.
A collaboration with ODC and Finger Lakes Community Health, the Rural Health Care Coordination Consortium Project supported ongoing coordination and reduced barriers to care by enabling services such as health systems navigation, paperwork, transportation, interpretation and case management. Funding centered on partnerships to address food security supported the delivery of meals, food boxes and CSA shares.
2022: With a two-year grant from the Vermont Department of Health, Migrant Health Programs strengthened its flagship program Bridges to Health by establishing a statewide Community Health Worker program. Recognizing the similarities in the significant systemic and individual barriers faced by both agricultural and non-agricultural migrant workers, a team of full-time bilingual and culturally diverse Community Health Workers (CHWs) was assembled and based in communities across the state. Staff are tasked with farm-based outreach and support to growing numbers of migrant households working in the food, hospitality, tourism and construction industries.
Despite the resounding success of the program in creating more equal opportunities for health and wellbeing among migrant communities, limited funding threatens the sustainability of Migrant Health Programs beyond December of 2023.
Bridges to Health Community Health Worker Program
Bridges to Health is a health outreach program for migrant workers and their families across Vermont. The program empowers migrant workers and their family members to make timely health decisions while assisting them in navigating an increasingly complex and complicated health care system by adapting various components of evidence-based community health worker models to meet identified community needs.
Bridges to Health’s Community Health Workers (CHWs) improve quality of life at an individual, household and population level by serving as liaisons, cultural brokers, health educators, advocates, patient navigators and interpreters between individuals and community-based organizations to promote health, reduce disparities, and improve service delivery.
CHWs also coordinate clinical outreach efforts and collaborate with local health and social service organizations to assist them in enhancing services and addressing systemic barriers to care.
The Huertas Project
Huertas is a community-based food security project which enables Latino/a migrant farmworkers and families living on Vermont’s dairies to access culturally familiar and local foods through cultivating kitchen gardens. Now in its sixth year, with an established network of farmworkers, growers and volunteers, Huertas builds gardens and distributes seeds and plant starts to Latino/a migrant farmworkers living in rural Vermont. See What's Growing on our Blog.
Vermont Migrant Health Immunization Program
The immunization program offers free vaccines to farmworkers and farm owners across Vermont. They can easily receive the Covid-19 vaccine, the Tdap (tetanus, diptheria and pertussis) vaccine, and the seasonal Influenza (flu) vaccine at their place of work through this program.
The goals are to make sure farmworkers have access to accurate vaccine information and vaccines so that their risk of illness is reduced. Farmworkers may be especially vulnerable to illnesses due to the dirty, dangerous, and physically difficult work environment. They often live and work in close quarters, which means illness can spread easily and quickly. They have less access to vaccines due to health care costs, lack of transportation, work schedule, and language barriers.
Claire Bove, Community Health Worker Program Coordinator
Claire serves as the Community Health Worker Program Coordinator with Bridges to Health. In this role she guides and supports the Community Health Worker team in their statewide efforts to improve health and wellness for migrant workers. Prior to this role, Claire coordinated the High School Equivalency Program, assisting farmworkers in getting their GED. She holds a master's degree in Educational Leadership and has worked and traveled all over the U.S. and the world.
Office Phone: 802-656-7543
Cell Phone: 802-249-4611
Jahdea Clare, Community Health Worker
Jahdea is a Community Health Worker for who supports migrant workers, especially Jamaican H2A workers, across the state as a part of the Bridges to Health team. She was born and raised in the Blue Mountains of Portland, Jamaica. Jahdea holds a master's degree in International Relations from the University of West Indies.
Cell Phone: 802-656-7635
Joanne Delaney, Program Support
Joanne Delaney is excited to work with Bridges to Health in a programmatic support role at the St. Albans office. When she first moved to Vermont, Joanne remembers thinking “that (Extension) would be a great place for me to work one day.”
Joanne holds a BFA in painting from UMASS Amherst, has been an Administrator at a level III Residential Care Facility for Seniors, has had her own businesses, developed an after- school art program for grade students, and has worked as an Administrative Assistant/Office Manager for 8 years. She enjoys traveling and created the opportunity to travel the USA and western Canada for 14 months with her husband Doug. She has also visited Europe and Argentina. Joanne enjoys horseback riding/bike riding with her husband, and alpine skiing with her son Nathan who will be a freshman at UVM fall of 2022. Her family is completed with their American Eskimo dog Kimba and APA horse Bonnie. Joanne’s passions are art, horses, and spirituality, followed by gardening, hiking, skiing, and enjoying nature. She is currently developing her intuitive art rendering skills as well as training with her horse to compete in Competitive Trail rides.
Office Phone: 802-656-7616
Cecilia Hayes, Community Health Worker
As the Northwest Community Health Worker II for Bridges to Health, Cecilia supports migrant workers and their families in Franklin and Grand Isle counties by helping them access health care and social services. Prior to this role, Cecilia worked as a Bilingual Support Counselor for COVID Support VT, offering emotional support, promoting wellness and supporting Vermont’s Spanish-speaking Latinx community. Cecilia is originally from Peru and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Champlain College.
Cell Phone: 802-656-7815
Monica Pineda Hernandez, Community Health Worker
Monica serves as the Northeast Kingdom Community Health Worker II for Bridges to Health. In this role, she coordinates health care services and health education for Spanish and English-speaking migrant workers and their families. She grew up in Tlaxcala, Mexico and graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology from University Benemérita in Puebla, Mexico. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from Northern Vermont University.
Cell phone: 802-656-7603
Jen LeFebre, Community Health Worker
Jen is a Community Health Worker for Bridges to Health in Southern Vermont, and is based at the Rutland office. She earned her MA in Education from Grand Valley State University in Michigan, and was an elementary and middle school Spanish teacher in Vermont for eleven years before switching gears. She is passionate about equity in health access and wellness. She lives in Wallingford and loves hiking with the dog, attending live concerts, traveling, creating fiber art, and playing board games with her family.
Evaristo Guiterrez Treminio, Community Health Worker
Evaristo Gutierrez Treminio is a Community Health Worker for Bridges to Health in Washington, Lamoille, Orange and northern Windsor counties. He is proud to be from Nicaragua. Before becoming a CHW, he worked as a tour guide and an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in Nicaragua and as an ESL teacher in Vermont. He also has experience serving as a Spanish/English interpreter for cultural exchanges, ecotourism experiences, and in health care settings. He is super excited to combine education and health on his new journey in this role.
Cell Phone: 802-656-4832
Katherine “Julissa” Vesely, Community Health Worker
Julissa serves as the Central West Community Health Worker II for the program, Bridges to Health. In this role, she coordinates health care services for Spanish speaking migrant farmworkers and their families in Chittenden and Addison counties as well as creates statewide programming to address health equity issues. Her expertise lies in navigating financial aid and health insurance for the migrant community and her interests include empowerment through health literacy and participatory action research. Being adopted from Guatemala, she is committed to creating opportunities of independence for the Latinx community. She is currently studying to get her master's degree in Community Development and Applied Economics from UVM.
Office phone: 802-656-7642
Cell Phone: 802-503-2301
Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland, Migrant Health Programs Lead
Naomi provides leadership and management oversight for a portfolio of grants and initiatives in support of migrant health access and equity. Naomi designed, implemented, and grew Bridges to Health, Migrant Health Program's flagship program that utilizes Community Health Workers to improve access to health and social services for migrant workers and their families across Vermont. She established and co-directs Huertas, a community-based food security project working to increase access to culturally familiar foods with farmworker households. She holds a Master's Degree in Community Development and Applied Economics from UVM. Naomi speaks Spanish fluently after living for four years in Central America including two years with the Peace Corps in El Salvador.
Office phone: 802-656-7626
Cell phone: 802-503-2078