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Rural Health Information Hub

Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center

  • Project Title: Healthy Farms Program
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Gail Emrick
  • Location: Cochise County, AZ
  • Program Overview: Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center's (SEAHEC) Healthy Farms Program began as a farmworker health initiative in the Winchester Heights community or “colonia” of rural Cochise County, Arizona. Most residents of Winchester Heights are Latino farmworkers who face numerous structural barriers in accessing health care and improving the conditions in which they work and live. SEAHEC began the Healthy Farms Program when a community needs assessment revealed the substantial health inequities in Winchester Heights. The Healthy Farms Program first trained community members to serve as promotores de salud, with the goal of building trust between the Winchester Heights community and local health and social services organizations. SEAHEC provided training and capacity building assistance to guide the promotores as they built a system to help residents navigate local resources. Promotores also collected information about priority health issues and began mobilizing residents to help improve community health.

    In 2017, SEAHEC supported residents of Winchester Heights in their goal to build a community center, which provided permanent infrastructure for community engagement and organizing. The center now serves as a community hub that offers safe recreational activities, a community garden, and access to health and social services. To promote sustainable community development, SEAHEC assisted residents in developing a 501(c)(3) organization in 2020 that is responsible for managing the operations of the community center. As a 501(c)(3), the Winchester Heights community will be able to apply for and manage their own funding to meet the needs of residents.

Strategies represented by this program: