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Justice and Health for Latino Poultry Workers: The overall goal of JUSTA is to address the health disparities faced by immigrant Latino workers employed by the poultry production and processing industries in rural, western North Carolina, through a partnership of community advocates from Centro Latino of Caldwell County, environmental health scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine, and health care providers at Wake Forest School of Medicine.  Workers in the poultry industry in the United States experience a disproportionate burden of occupation-attributed musculoskeletal, skin, and respiratory disorders.  Recent trends in this industry have concentrated the injuries in a worker population that is poor, minority, and comprised predominantly of immigrants.  These workers lack safety and health education aimed at their specific work and social challenges. 

To bring about greater social and environmental justice for these workers, the proposed work will have two foci.  The first focus is on individual workers and their families, helping them to be more resilient to stressors.  This focus recognizes that individuals need to work and that they will continue to work in industries that are detrimental to their health and well-being. The second focus is on the community, strengthening community-based organizations so that they can move toward social and regulatory change and justice.  Community advocates, health care providers and environmental health researchers will work together in this project to address four specific aims:

  1. To encourage social action by Latino community-based advocacy groups in western North Carolina to reduce the burden of occupational and environmental health disparities due to employment in the poultry industry;
  2. To construct a foundation to design educational materials and communication strategies to prevent or reduce exposure to physical and social occupational stressors and minimize their effects among poultry worker families in North Carolina.
  3. To develop culturally and linguistically appropriate educational materials and implement programs that will prevent or reduce exposure to physical and social occupational stressors and their effects among poultry worker families.
  4. To develop educational materials and implement programs that will better prepare health care providers to recognize and treat with cultural competence illnesses caused by stressors related to poultry production and processing among immigrant families, and counsel families on ways to prevent or reduce exposure.

Project Team: Sara A. Quandt, PhD, Principal Investigator; (Department of Public Health Sciences) Michael Coates, MD, Co-Principal Investigator;  Bless Burke, MA, (Centro Latino of Caldwell County) Co-Principal Investigator; Thomas A. Arcury, PhD, Joseph Grzywacz, PhD, Tony Marin, MA, and Lourdes Carrillo, BS (Centro Latino of Caldwell County).

Funding Agency:  This four-year project is supported by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (R25 OH008335).

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