Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Enhancing Service Delivery to Minority Farmers: VR Counselors' Perceptions and Recommendations

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Enhancing Service Delivery to Minority Farmers: VR Counselors' Perceptions and Recommendations

Article excerpt

Minority farmers in the Mississippi Delta are among the poorest people in the United States. Being a minority _farmer is a quadruple health disadvantage. First, farmers live in rural areas where it is more difficult to provide or access services (Larsen & Foley, 1992; Lishner, Richardson, Levine & Patrick, 1996; Lustig, Strauser & Weems, 2004). Rural Americans are more likely than urban Americans to be older, to describe their health as poor or fair, to lack private health insurance, and to live longer distances from hospitals or other health care services (AHRQ, 2005). Rural people have inadequate insurance coverage and lower rates of service use (Ormond, Wallin & Goldenson, 2000). Although minorities fare worse than majorities, rural minorities fare even worse than urban minorities (Mueller, Ortega, Parker, Patil & Askenazi, 1999). Rural people face different social and physical conditions therefore methods of serving them have to be different from those used on urban populations. Consequently, urban models of service provision are inappropriate for rural clients (Rowjewski, 1992).

Second, farmers are in a hazardous profession (Cole, Myers & Westneat, 2006; Rautiainen & Reynolds, 2002) The National Safety Council (1996, 2002) ranks farming as one of the most hazardous occupations with high rates of job related illnesses, injuries and disabilities that are costly to families and to the economy at large. For example, in 1996 National Safety Council ranked agriculture as the second most dangerous occupation with an incidence of 140,000 disabilities per year. It should be noted that this number is an under-estimate because Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations exempt farms employing ten or fewer workers, and those that do not maintain labor camps from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses. Farmers experience: injuries from machinery, livestock, tools, and work surfaces (National Coalition for Agricultural Safety and Health, 1988; NIOSH, 1993; 1994; Young, Strasser, & Murphy, 2004) deafening noise (EPA 1981; May & Dennis, 1992; National Safety Council, 2002; Oskam & Mitchell, 2002;); long hours in the sun; concentrated toxic chemicals (such as nitrates, pesticides) gases, and fuels; excessive occurrences of some cancers among farmers such as leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma and cancers of the lip, skin, stomach, prostate and brain (Novello, 1991). Farmers are also exposed to grain and hay dust, and dust from farm chemicals such as insecticides, fertilizers and animal feeds. They often work in animal enclosures, silos, and manure pits where they are exposed to high levels of potentially toxic gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and hydrogen sulphide. Some of the more common respiratory illnesses they suffer are organic dust toxic syndrome, chronic bronchitis, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (Runyan, 1993) and they are exposed to zoonotic diseases. Musculoskeletal syndromes are widespread among farm workers due to repetitive trauma and vibrations from farm machinery (NIOSH, 1993; National Coalition for Agricultural Safety and Health, 1988). Farming has one of the highest levels of job-related stress (NIOSH, 1993). Besides the physical stress of farm work, farmers take high economic risks resulting in stress. Research has also found higher injury levels among minority farmers (McGwin, Enochs & Roseman, 2000) with more adverse economic consequences than among majority farmers (McGwin, Scotten, Aranas, Enochs, & Roseman, 2000).

Third, minority populations have higher disability rates than those of majority populations (Bowe 1992; U.S. Census Bureau, 1997, 2002, 2005a, 2006' de Leon, Fillenbaum, Williams,1995; Walker 1988;). American Indians and African Americans have the highest disability rates in all age groups. The severe disability rate among African-Americans of all ages is 12.7% but among whites it is 9. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.