WCAHS Affiliated Research Projects

Coccidioidomycosis among California Hispanic Farmworkers

PI: Stephen McCurdy, MD, MPH, UC Davis

Sponsor: NIOSH

Coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) is a lung infection caused by the soil-dwelling fungus, Coccidioides immitis. The fungus is common in California’s San Joaquin Valley and parts of the Southwest. Farmworkers are at increased risk of being infected because it is believed that infection occurs when fungus-bearing soil is stirred up and becomes airborne. This study assesses knowledge about Valley fever among farmworkers, identifies high-risk work activities, and develops preventive and educational programs to reduce the health burden of Valley fever in agricultural workers.


Agriculture and Climate Change Impacts on Workers’ Health and Safety

PI: Kent Pinkerton, PhD, UC Davis

Sponsor: NIOSH

This study focuses on agriculture and climate change impacts on Latino immigrant farmworker health and safety in the California San Joaquin Valley (one of the most intensely farmed areas in the USA). The goal is to address health impacts due to climate change; heighten awareness of climate change and its effects among farmworkers, employers, and labor contractors; and identify research-to-practice solutions to effectively protect immigrant farmworkers.


Sexual Harassment of Hispanic Women Farmworkers in the Agricultural Workplace

PI: Stephen McCurdy, MD, MPH, UC Davis

Sponsor: PIMSA (Programa de Investigación en Migracion y Salud)

Workplace sexual harassment is fundamentally harmful. The farming environment offers isolated venues, e.g., distant orchards, outbuildings, and other settings, where perpetrators can bring their victims under pretense of work responsibilities and remain unobserved. The purpose of this study is to characterize attitudes, beliefs, and experience relevant to workplace sexual harassment among men and women farmworkers in California and Mexico. We will also examine the range of resources available to employers for preventing and responding to sexual harassment, including in-service education, reporting arrangements, and relevant workplace policies. Findings will be used to inform subsequent development of effective educational materials and policy recommendations for agricultural employees, employers, and governmental agencies.


Pasos: Improving the Health of Immigrant Workers

PI: Marc Schenker, MD, MPH, UC Davis

Sponsor: NIH

Obesity and diabetes are serious health problems in the Latino farmworker population. Pasos is a collaborative study between UC Davis and a large berry grower to deliver a healthy lifestyle intervention at the worksite. The goal is to demonstrate the effectiveness of a worksite approach to reach a vulnerable population at great risk of obesity and diabetes. The study includes an economic analysis that is anticipated to demonstrate the cost benefit to the employer for implementing such a program.