Rural Women’s Health Project awarded “2013 Champion of Farmworkers” Award!


October 24, 2013

Lucia Valdivia-Sanchez, Program Assistant
Migrant Seasonal Farm Worker Program
(386) 698-4710 –

The Rural Women’s Health Project of Gainesville, Florida was awarded the 2013 Champion of Farmworkers in recognition of their support and long-time commitment towards improving the lives of migrant farmworkers in the State of Florida. The award was presented by the Mexican- American Council (MAC) at the Florida Department of Education Farmworker Jobs and Education Program’s Annual Conference in Boca Raton, FL.

“The RWHP is awarded this prestigious recognition for your tireless and unwavering commitment to improve the lives of migrant farmworkers through education and advocacy,” stated Maria C. Garza, President, Mexican-American Council, Inc.

The RWHP works with rural communities to strengthen their capacity to overcome barriers to health justice. Garza went on to state that, “The Champion award was bestowed on the RWHP because of their commitment to giving voice to farmworkers.” The RWHP uses a community-based approach to their health education and advocacy work. Community members are involved in all grassroots health research, educational campaigns, trainings and bridging to services— thereby broadening their skills to replicate programs and advocacy strategies such as with the Voces de Inmigrantes en Acción (Voices of Immigrants In Action) program.

Because of MAC’s focus on education of farmworkers, the Council appreciated that the RWHP also focuses on improving health literacy. In the last eight years, the RWHP’s Florida Promotor Initiative program has trained over 300 lay-heath workers from farmworking communities, who in turn have reached over 11,600 community members through one-on-one education.

“This honor comes on the heels of the RWHP’s award as a finalist of the Kate B. Reynolds’ The New Rural Innovations in Rural Health award for the RWHP’s Creando Nuestra Salud project, stated Lucia Valdivia-Sanchez. The curriculum was created to address the high mortality rates of Hispanic women due to the late detection and late entrance in to care for breast cancer.

Lucia Valdivia-Sanchez, Program Assistant for the Migrant Seasonal Farm Worker Program with the Putnam County School District states, “The Rural Women’s Health Project which just celebrated their 22 anniversary, reflects the true spirit of the Champion of Farmworkers Award in their everyday dedication to improve the lives of farmworkers in Florida and the Southeastern stream through their innovative approach to research and educational initiatives in farmworker and rural communities.”

The Mexican American Council is a Florida statewide association focusing on the education of farmworker youth. “We feel honored to be recognized by MAC as both of our organizations are concerned with the development of opportunities for farmworker families in terms of education, leadership and citizenship,” stated Director of Development, Fran Ricardo.

In receiving the award, Robin Lewy, Director of Education shared in her comments in feeling of solidarity with those in the audience. “Our work mirrors your commitment to serving individuals and families who are part of all of our communities.”