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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of Washington

Community Health Intervention with Yakima Agricultural Workers

Funded by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH)
Matthew Keifer

Project Description:

El Proyecto Bienestar (The Well-Being Project) is community-based participatory research (CBPR) project with the goal of identifying, prioritizing and addressing the occupational and environmental health issues of concern for Hispanic farmworkers and their families in the Yakima Valley, Washington. El Proyecto Bienestar was born in 2003 when a community activist approached researchers at the University of Washington about a grant opportunity through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to address environmental justice issues.

A ‘Core’ group of partners was formed by representatives of four organizations: Heritage University, a four-year, independent, liberal-arts school in Toppenish, Washington with a commitment to providing higher education to the local community; NCEC/Radio KDNA, a community-based, nonprofit organization and public Spanish-language radio station with over 25 years of service to the community; PNASH (Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health) Center, part of the University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health and Community Medicine and a NIOSH-funded agricultural center; and The Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC), a community/migrant health center located in the Yakima Valley.

El Proyecto Bienestar also has a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that is made up of volunteers with a wide range of backgrounds from across the Yakima Valley area. The CAB meets on a regular basis to review research and provide input on study design, analysis and communication of results.

Project Aims

  1. Develop structures and processes to facilitate the Hispanic community’s involvement in the identification and prioritization of occupational and environmental stressors among farmworkers in Yakima Valley;
  2. Create opportunities and mechanisms for this community to understand and actively participate in decision-making related to their occupational and environmental health;
  3. Develop an issues driven action plan that focuses on the needs articulated by Hispanic agricultural workers;
  4. Cultivate a cadre of new investigators with preliminary training related to the investigation and remediation of occupational and environmental health threats; and
  5. Develop a sustainable partnership among the following entities: the Hispanic community in Yakima Valley, community organizations: Northwest Communities Education Center/KDNA and Heritage University, health care providers from the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC), and scientists from the University of Washington.


  • Vickie Ybarra
    Director, Planning and Development
    Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic
  • Guadalupe Sotelo
    Project Coordinator
    Northwest Communities Education Center/Radio KDNA
  • Sandy Wells
    Associate Professor, Director, Nursing Program
    Heritage University

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