Institutional Scholarship

"Si Dios Quiere" Instability, Sustainability, and Wellness in a Vermont Migrant Worker Health Clinic

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dc.contributor.advisor Kelly, Patricia Smith, Kelsey R. 2020-08-14T18:13:06Z 2020-08-14T18:13:06Z 2020
dc.description.abstract Vermont is the only state in the United States that relies heavily upon a singular export, dairy, for agricultural revenue, a dependency that has left the state and its small-scale farmers fatally vulnerable in the past decades' market fluctuations. The industrialization and consolidation of the dairy industry and the effects of neoliberal policies like NAFTA on Mexican and American dairy markets have created the perfect supply and demand chain of cheap dairy labor to the rural northeast of the United States, with over 60 percent of Vermont farms now fully supported by Latinx migrant workers. The Care Center, a free-clinic that serves uninsured and underinsured patients in Cherry County for the past three decades, has found itself the main provider of medical care for this growing migrant worker population that works in a dangerously underregulated occupation due to its deemed exceptional status by OSHA, which withholds typical worker protections. The clinic provides a wide variety of services ranging from physical exams and mental health counseling to food prescriptions, but their reliance upon grant funding and volunteers leaves the clinic, not unlike their patients, in a state of financial and functional precarity. Despite the vulnerability of the clinic and the patients they serve, the state's Department of Public Health and even high-profile private institutions continue to lean on the Care Center and their non-profit status as a method of filling the gaps in social assistance left behind by the withdrawal of the neoliberal state. The health landscape that Latinx migrant dairy workers and healthcare providers must navigate is shaped by the state's dependence on a fluctuating dairy market and its status as a rural, border state and is further complicated by race, class, and gender, but the combination of these factors has yet to be explored in Vermont. Not only does this thesis fill a gap in literature by showing that the structures of neoliberal politics/economics, citizenship, and race keep both migrant workers and healthcare providers in a state of perpetual instability and vulnerability, it invokes the notion of sustainability to frame cooperative methods of support used by community members to sustain themselves and one another.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Anthropology
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Hispanic American agricultural laborers -- Vermont
dc.subject.lcsh Agricultural laborers -- Health and hygiene -- Vermont
dc.subject.lcsh Dairy products industry -- Vermont
dc.subject.lcsh Neoliberalism -- Social aspects -- Vermont
dc.title "Si Dios Quiere" Instability, Sustainability, and Wellness in a Vermont Migrant Worker Health Clinic
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Haverford users only until 2025-01-01, afterwards Tri-College users only.

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