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UI Health researchers promote project to vaccinate migrant farm workers


Every spring, thousands of seasonal migrant workers travel to Iowa to work on farms. Many do not speak English and some are undocumented, making this a population that tends to be “invisible” to the health care system. This can leave migrant workers vulnerable to illness and injury, putting them at higher risk for health complications, including severe illness from COVID-19. Researchers with University of Iowa Health Care are working to identify ways to overcome access issues among migrant and seasonal farmworkers, thanks to pilot grant funding from the university’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Services. Dr. Claudia Corwin, one of the principal investigators and clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at the UI Carver College of Medicine, said one big problem is that there is no cohesive strategy for vaccinating this population. ”Our research collects data on this very vulnerable population – a population about which we have relatively little information,” she said. Corwin and co-principal investigator Kimberly Dukes, a UI research assistant professor of internal medicine, are collaborating with Proteus, a federally qualified mobile health center, to test whether it is possible to effectively engage migrant workers in health research and collect health data via a mobile application.

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