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Your Environment. Your Health.

Oregon Law Center-Farmworker Program

Promoting Occupational Health Among Indigenous Farmworkers in Oregon

Funded by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH)
Nargess Shadbeh

Project Description:

The Project works to develop community-based strategies to address the occupational health concerns of indigenous farmworkers in Oregon and to develop innovative methods to improve the capacity of migrant farmworkers who do not speak English or Spanish to understand the hazards associated with agricultural work and increase their access to economic, health and social services. During the past two years the Project's primary focus has been on investigating the needs of indigenous speaking farmworkers to identify priorities for workplace, education, intervention and policy change. Project members have conducted eight focus groups, six with indigenous and Spanish speaking farmworkers conducted in Spanish and indigenous languages, primarily Mixteco. Project partners, especially the indigenous speaking community educators led this effort. Additionally we are in the process of completing 150 surveys of indigenous speaking and Latino farmworkers to further identify their occupational safety and health priorities including what are the preferred methods of obtaining information and training. In the third year of the Project we will develop and implement a peer educator program consistent with our aims in building and supporting leadership and problem-solving capacity among migrant and seasonal farmworkers persons speaking indigenous languages.

Specific Aims

  1. Identify priorities for workplace safety education, interventions, and policy change for farmworkers speaking indigenous languages, health providers serving this community, and other stakeholders.
  2. Build leadership and problem-solving capacity among persons speaking indigenous languages.
  3. Collaborate with community agencies, activists, and advocates serving indigenous workers to develop strategies to increase the workers' knowledge and use of resources on priority issues.
  4. Develop educational materials relevant to the health and safety of indigenous farmworkers and disseminate these materials via multiple mechanisms.
  5. Increase the agricultural community's knowledge of the needs of indigenous farmworkers.
  6. Develop sustainable programs to improve the health of this population and to create effective identified priorities.
  7. Develop a successful partnership including representatives from the farmworker communities, health providers, and environmental scientists through this Project.


  • Stephanie Farquhar, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Portland State University
  • Ramon Ramirez
  • Sylvia Arroyo
    Salud Medical Center

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