Consider the following scenario: A migrant farm worker in California has injured himself
while on the job as a seasonal employee. He does not seek medical treatment for his injury.
Considering the social determinants of health, what are some factors that would influence
his decision to seek medical care? Use evidence to support your response. How do current
policies perpetuate social determinants of health for seasonal migrant farm workers? What
policy recommendations would you make to alleviate social determinants of health for this
Migrant farm and food production workers play a fundamental role in the realization of different
objectives that safeguard the welfare of the people. However, most of the workers are faced with
considerable challenges based on their job description, which ultimately affects their health.
Most fundamentally, farm and food production workers are minimally compensated, and they
further acquire different forms of fatalities and injuries associated with their work (APHA,
2018). These challenges are further characterized by discrimination and exploitation based on
their racial background, ethnicity, or immigration status, all of which exclude them from specific
labor law provisions. As such, some of the factors that would influence the social worker’s
decision, in this case, to seek medical care including his access to health services and their
quality, the level of income (individual and household), and social norms as well as attitudes
(APHA, 2018). These would be followed closely by factors such as social support, residential
segregation, language and literacy level, and culture, as well as his living conditions that
comprise aspects such as public safety, housing status, pollution, and clean water.
More importantly, the current policies perpetuate social determinants of health for
seasonal migrant farm workers through their exclusion from labor protections that include the
OSHA standards, overtime, and protections over low salaries. These are coupled with the
exclusion from protections such as worker’s compensation insurance and collective bargaining
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rights. Additionally, the current policies applied in the regulation of migrant farm workers’
operations have continually failed to inhibit discrimination and exploitation, thereby leading to
the propagation of their social determinants of health (APHA, 2018). As a result, employers in
the agricultural and food production sector rely mainly on immigrants and other people of color
for their workforce as they will carry out more tasks for minimal wages. Nevertheless, to
alleviate the situation, I would recommend that these employers and the government, through the
current policies, should reconsider the wages paid to the seasonal migrant farm workers. An
increment in the wages they receive would translate into better living standards, increased
accessibility to quality medical services, and the improvement in their social lifestyle, thereby
leading to increased productivity (APHA, 2018).
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APHA. (2018, January 18). Improving Working Conditions for U.S. Farm workers and Food
Production Workers- American Public Health Association (APHA).