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Maria Rodriguez honored for contributions to migrant health

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Marie Rodriquez giving a speech at the Conference for Agricultural Worker Health | PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTSIDE FAMILY HEALTHCARE

WILMINGTON – Migrant Health Centers and leaders were honored at the Conference for Agricultural Worker Health on May 2nd, in Denver, CO.  The Conference for Agricultural Worker Health, sponsored by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), is the only annual conference dedicated solely to the health and well-being of America’s migratory and seasonal agricultural workers and their families. Maria Rodriguez, Westside Family Healthcare (Westside) board member, was honored for her contributions to migrant health.

“We take pride in recognizing colleagues who have done so much on behalf of our migrant and seasonal agricultural workers,” Rachel Gonzales-Hanson, interim president and CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), said in a statement. “Each in their own way has shown what it takes to make health care meaningful and responsive for this vital part of the nation’s workforce under extraordinary challenges. These honorees have lifted barriers to care and advanced equity during an unprecedented global pandemic. We celebrate their service, courage, and contributions to the Community Health Center Movement.”

Rodriguez was among a group of migrant health leaders and organizations receiving awards at the national conference. She was honored because of her role as a board member who leads Westside’s Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Advisory Council. The council representatives community-based agencies that serve the migrant and seasonal agricultural worker population residing in the Kent and Sussex counties in Delaware. This advisory council provides vital insight and input into the strategic direction of Westside’s Rural Health Outreach program, which provides basic primary care to agricultural workers and their families where they live, work and play. Since joining Westside’s Board of Directors in 2018, Rodriquez represents the migratory patient population Westside serves by reporting regularly on the special needs of this population. She is the board spokesperson on regulatory authorities, such as audits and visits from HRSA and The Joint Commission.

“Ms. Rodriquez is a compassionate, caring person highly knowledgeable of the needs of the migratory patients and their families,” President & CEO of Westside Family Healthcare Lolita Lopez said in a statement. “She is a joy to work with and an asset to the Board and our community.”

Community and Migrant Health Centers serve approximately 22 percent (nearly one million) of agricultural workers and their families currently living in the U.S. Throughout the pandemic, health centers have responded to the health needs of the nation’s essential agricultural workers who harvest the food on our table and who have suffered disproportionately higher rates of infection and death from the COVID-19 virus.

About National Association of Community Health Centers
Established in 1971, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) serves as the leading national voice for America’s Health Centers and as an advocate for health care access for the medically underserved and uninsured. To learn more visit www.NACHC.org.

About Westside Family Healthcare
Westside Family Healthcare is a Joint Commission Accredited non-profit community health system with locations currently in Wilmington, Northeast Wilmington, Newark, Bear/New Castle, and Dover providing care to 28,031 patients through 113,155 visits in 2021. Westside is the largest community health system in the state, providing family medical, dental, prenatal, and behavioral health services, regardless of ability to pay. Thirty-one percent of Westside Family Healthcare’s budget in 2021 comprised of Federal funds. Care is provided for all individuals, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Westside operates a mobile health unit and outreach team that provides necessary primary care, infectious disease testing, vaccinations, and oral health services to workers and their families throughout the growing season. Learn more about Westside at www.westsidehealth.org.

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