Contact: Gabrielle Maxey
August 22, 2014 -Taylor Arnold, a master’s candidate in applied medical anthropology
at the University of Memphis, completed a summer internship program that provided
practical experience in occupational safety at the National Farm Medicine Center (NFMC).
Arnold and Ivanna Pereyra of Salisbury University spent eight weeks in Marshfield,
Wis., working primarily on Seguridad en las Lecherias, a project that is testing culturally appropriate occupational safety and health training
for immigrant dairy workers.
Arnold and Pereyra came to the Farm Center as part of the Occupational Health Internship
Program (OHIP), an initiative of the Association of Occupational and Environmental
Clinics. Competition for internships was keen, with just 34 positions nationwide for
more than 400 applicants.
Marshfield was the only rural location among nine training sites nationwide, and Seguridad was the only project that focused specifically on agricultural safety and health among
“This is our first year as a host site,” said the Farm Center’s Iris Reyes, who coordinated
the work of the interns, “and it has been a great opportunity for NFMC to help train
the next generation of health and safety professionals.”
The design and testing of Seguridad is a collaboration of the Farm Center, Migrant Clinicians Network and the Upper Midwest
Agricultural Safety and Health Center, which provides funding through a grant from
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
“Our placement with NFMC and the Seguridad project gave us valuable inroads into the dairy industry,” wrote Arnold and Pereyra.
“We were able to talk to numerous Hispanic workers, participate in safety training,
and sit in on interviews and meetings with farm owners. Hearing multiple perspectives
and having access to the various facets of the industry allowed us a much more nuanced
view of the worlds of agriculture and occupational safety and health, and the complexities
involved in merging the two worlds.
“We greatly appreciate this experience. It opened our eyes to the way that food is
produced and the labor-intensive tasks involved. Working with both Hispanic laborers
and farm owners helped put a face to the industry. We have a renewed respect for the
people that work hard and take great risks in order to put food on the table.”
Arnold and Pereyra presented results of their internship during a national Occupational
Health Internship Program videoconference on Aug. 7.
Arnold has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology from the University of
Arkansas. His research interests include migrant health, labor, health disparity and