Cultural Perceptions of Health and the Use of Health Care Services Among Migrant Farm Workers in Maine

In 2010, Fabiola Ortiz received a fellowship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the University of Southern Maine (USM) to lead a research project focused on how members of the migrant and seasonal farmworker community views health and makes use of health related services available to them. With the help of MMHP this research project was conducted between fall 2010 and spring 2011.The goal of this research project was to obtain a better understanding of how Hispanic migrant workers in Maine perceive health and health care, and the level to which they take advantage of various health-related social services.

This research is based on the idea that health and sickness are internal concepts within a culture, and in order to understand them we need to look at their relation with the political and social factors that condition human relations.  According to our data, the reasoning behind what a person considers heath and sickness and how they view and access the health services available to them reflects various elements of their lives. The findings show that relocating to Maine, and assuming the social condition of being an immigrant plays a significant part in the workers’ social behavior and their overall wellness.  Cultural beliefs and knowledge have a great influence on their perceptions of health and their decisions of whether to seek health care and treatment for illnesses.

To see more of Fabiola’s findings, click here to read the full report.