About Us

We partner with health centers and other stakeholders to provide health services and address social determinants of health for the farmworkers who feed the world.

Our Mission

We are committed to improving access to quality, community-based primary care and other health related services for migratory and seasonal agricultural workers in the Connecticut River Valley. To achieve this goal, we partner with local community health centers, and other service agencies to provide outreach, primary care, and social services to eligible farmworkers and their families. We also work with our partners and stakeholders to coordinate health services for these patients when outside the Valley.

Our Approach

There are an estimated 17,600 migratory and seasonal agricultural workers and their families in the Connecticut River Valley. These essential workers experience tremendous barriers to accessing quality healthcare, such as linguistic and cultural factors, immigration status, long hours of daily work, difficulty navigating the healthcare system, and a transitory lifestyle that makes it difficult to establish a medical home with a primary care provider.

Agriculture is among the most hazardous occupations in the nation. Occupational exposures to pesticides are a risk factor for many illnesses. Other common conditions include musculoskeletal problems, dermatitis and rashes, headaches, and eye problems. In addition, farmworkers often suffer from high rates of diabetes, chronic hypertension, and dental disease.

We are a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), funded by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Administration (HRSA) as a 330-g Migrant Voucher Program.  Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts the program is unique in that rather than providing services out of a brick and mortar location, we work with our contracted Partner Agencies to provide outreach and health care services in the Connecticut River Valley to meet the needs of geographical areas with localized densities of farmworkers.  

We pay for medical services including primary care visits, diagnostic and x-ray services, screenings, immunizations, outpatient mental health and substance abuse services, vision care, dental care, and pharmacy services.

Our outreach teams provide health education and disease prevention services to improve the quality of life for agricultural workers and their families. All outreach work is adapted to the language and culture of patients. They also provide transportation to medical appointments and make referrals for other needed services.

Where We Work

Our work is focused in the Connecticut River Valley, the largest agricultural region in New England. The “Valley” extends south from the Massachusetts border with New Hampshire and Vermont through Connecticut to the Long Island Sound. Significant numbers of migratory workers and seasonal agricultural workers enter the Valley each year to plant and harvest crops and reside in these communities. Crops include apples, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, leafy greens, pumpkins, peppers and a variety of other fruits and vegetables, as well as nurseries and broadleaf and shade tobacco. The Valley includes sparsely populated rural areas and cities with suburban communities.

Our Team

Amy Shepherd

Senior Director, CRVFHPcrvfhp@massleague.org(617) 426-2266

Amy has 18 years’ experience working in the community, academia, and health institutions on clinical and public health initiatives focused on reducing health disparities in vulnerable populations and increasing access to health care. She obtained her Master of Public Health degree from Northeastern University and her Bachelor’s degree in applied medical anthropology at the University of South Florida. She is a Lecturer at Northeastern University where she teaches courses on public health policy, population-based health management, regulatory affairs, racial /ethnic disparities in health, and the social determinants of health. She is a long-time advocate of health and human rights. She enjoys volunteering, and spent many years at the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights at Boston Medical Center. Presently, she is a non-clinical volunteer for the Massachusetts Medical Reserve Corps.

Erica Hastings

Administrative Manager, CRVFHPcrvfhp@massleague.org(508) 365-6357

Erica has worked serving special populations in healthcare for 18 years. Notably, during her 10 years at the Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights at Boston Medical Center, Erica developed and implemented the first known Patient Navigator Program tailored to refugees and asylum seekers in the United States. More recently, she served as the Program Coordinator for the Nurse Practitioner and Postdoctoral Psychology Residency programs at Community Health Center, Inc.’s Weitzman Institute, in Middletown, CT. Erica received her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and Masters in International Health Care Management, Economics, and Policy from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.

Alysse Rourke

Clinical Data & Billing Manager, CRVFHPcrvfhp@massleague.org(508) 365-6358

Alysse has worked with health and financial data reporting throughout her professional career. Most notably, she helped implement the first electronic data capture system for the Center for Immuno-Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She also has experience in finance and medical billing, managing the financial planning and analysis for three hospitals in MA, working as a Financial Business Analyst for Steward Medical Group / Steward Health Care System. Alysse obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biostatistics, with minors in Mathematics & Public health, at Simmons College in Boston, MA. Alysse also volunteers for the B.A.A Boston Marathon medical lane security since 2015.

Maggie Sullivan, DrPH, FNP-BC

Clinical Consultant, CRVFHPcrvfhp@massleague.org

Maggie supports the delivery of high-quality health services to agricultural workers in her role as a Clinical Consultant. Maggie is a family nurse practitioner and director of the Oasis Clinic, a multicultural immigrant-friendly clinic at Boston Health Care for the Homeless. She is also a postdoctoral research fellow at the FXB Center for Health & Human Rights at Harvard University and instructor with the Initiative on Health & Homelessness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Maggie graduated with a Doctor of Public Health degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in May 2020. She conducts forensic evaluations with Harvard Medical School’s Asylum Network and MGH’s Asylum Clinic and has also collaborated with Partners in Health in Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala. She received her B.A. from Barnard College in comparative religion and art history. She later completed a master’s in nursing science at the University of California – San Francisco, with a sub-specialty in women’s health. In 2005, Maggie completed a fellowship in farmworker health in the Salinas Valley of California.

 

Diana Mora Bermejo

COVID-19 Coordinator, CRVFHP

Diana Mora Bermejo is the COVID-19 Coordinator for the CRVFHP. She started her tenure as a Health Career Connections intern, and transitioned into a full-time position in September, 2021. Diana graduated from Providence College in May, 2021 with majors in Global Studies, and, Health Policy & Management, with a minor in Public and Community Service Studies. She is passionate about working towards eliminating inequities, having worked and done research on projects on casteism in India, public health in Gaza, Palestine, and displacement along the Mexico – United States border. During her time at Providence College, she worked with her local community while interning at Connect for Health, and Providence Housing Authority which led her to understand the importance of working within communities towards change. She is working towards a career in public health for a more equitable, and culturally and linguistically appropriate health care system.