Now, thanks to a new Seasonal Worker Clinic, health care for these indigent and often homeless workers is on its way.
The clinic is the brainchild of Joe Kiesler, MD, assistant professor of family medicine at UC Medical Center, and Joy Williams, MD, a family medicine faculty development fellow. Drs. Kiesler and Williams and family medicine residents Suzanne Gaudreault, MD, and Chris Bernheisel, MD, will staff the clinic.
River Downs employs about 250
minimum-wage seasonal workers, many of whom live rough behind the track
- similar to the living conditions depicted in the movie "Seabiscuit."
Most speak no English and have neither health insurance nor means of
getting to a doctor. As a consequence many get very ill because they
are not treated until their problems become advanced.
The clinic will treat chronic and acute
health problems, work-related injuries, and substance abuse and will
provide preventive care, patient education, HIV screening, free
medications and referrals to specialists when needed. The physicians,
assisted by a Spanish-language interpreter from Su Casa Ministries,
will also link their patients with community health care resources.
In addition, the new clinic will provide
a unique training opportunity for UC medical students, who will work
there under the supervision of Drs. Kiesler and Williams and other
family medicine department faculty. The educational experience will
help prepare the next generation of physicians to care for similar
types of indigent patients in their communities.