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Farmworker Housing Quality and Health: A Transdisciplinary Conference

Principal Investigator:  Thomas A. Arcury, PhD


Agricultural production in the United States (US) often requires the hand labor of agricultural workers.  Much of this agricultural labor is provided by immigrant workers, who are largely Latinos/Hispanics from Mexico and other Central American nations.  Farmworkers are among the most exploited populations in the US, and migrant and seasonal farmworkers often reside in extremely poor housing conditions. Farmworker housing is an environmental health and justice concern as farmworkers have limited access to any housing, and the housing to which they have access is often a component of their work environment that results in exposure to chemical, biological, physical and psychological toxicants.  At the same time, current research on farmworker housing and health is scattered in the literature, with a great deal of the information presented in non-peer-reviewed sources.  The peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed materials must be critically assessed and compiled to provide the basis for further research, improve current housing standards, develop effective policy, and provide training to farmworkers so that they can reduce their risks of health problems from poor quality housing.

The goal of this conference is to draw together experts from the variety of disciplines who contribute to research and practice focused on farmworker housing and health in order to delineate current knowledge and propose next steps.  This one day conference will achieve four specific aims, it will:  (1) consolidate current knowledge on characteristics and quality of housing provided for farmworkers, and the associations of farmworker housing characteristics with farmworker health; (2) delineate pertinent directions and areas for farmworker housing health and safety research; (3) delineate pertinent directions and areas for farmworker housing health and safety policy; and (4) facilitate the development of working groups to support the implementation of research, education, and engineering projects that can address the major directions and areas identified during the conference.

To achieve the specific aims, groups of experts will be commissioned to complete three reports on farmworker housing, and the association of farmworker housing and health.  Presentations of these reports will be the key-note addresses for the conference.  The organizers also will solicit volunteer presentations of new completed research and case studies.  The organizers will disseminate the reports produced for this conference.  This conference responds to the themes and goals of the NIEHS 2012-2017 Strategic Plan:  Theme 4 Health Disparities and Global Environmental Health, and Theme 6 Communications and Engagement; and Goals 6, 10, and 11.  The conference is being organized by the Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine (WFSM), California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) as part of its ongoing Rural Justice Forums, and Farmworker Justice.  The conference will be held in conjunction with the biennial National Farmworker Law Conference, in Arlington, Virginia, December, 2014.

Funder:  National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Quick Reference

Center for Worker Health
Thomas A. Arcury, PhD

Phone: 336-716-9438
Fax: 336-716-3206
Toll Free: 877-223-8651


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