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Researchers have estimated that a complete loss of immigrant agricultural labor could cut U.S. economic output by tens of billions of dollars and cause the price of food to skyrocket.

The US agricultural industry relies on the work of migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Yet, these workers face many challenges in accessing healthcare. For a variety of reasons—language barriers, migratory status, and long working hours—they have not been widely engaged in conversations about health care.

KU researchers received funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Engagement Awards program to better understand this underserved and under-researched population that works in practically every state in the nation.The project team’s solution is to obtain information about barriers, facilitators, and motivators to farmworker healthcare engagement. The project will include local, state/regional, and national representatives, and within those groups, farmworkers, providers, researchers, funders, and other key stakeholders. The project team’s focus will be on the Midwest Stream.

The overarching aim is to increase the knowledge base available about farmworkers’ preferences and needs as it relates to healthcare decisions and effective methods of engagement, and use that information to guide practice and research.

Review Review existing literature


Gather information on farmworkers’ needs, preferences, and desired health outcomes by directly engaging them and other key stakeholders


Utilize project information to begin developing a person-driven research agenda that can support patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR)


Reflect and document the team’s process of engaging migrant farmworkers


Increase the amount of research conducted with farmworkers as partners and that focuses on needs and preferences that they identify.

The team will achieve these objectives by bringing together diverse perspectives. Staff from the University of Kansas (KU) serves as project lead with the Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund (MFAF) serving as community co-lead. A local providers group comprised of representatives serving migrant farmworkers will meet seven times. A second group, conducted in Spanish and meeting seven times, will be comprised of farmworkers to provide direct inclusion. To ensure that the work extends beyond the local area, the project team will have an Advisory Partners Group of regional, state, and national partners. Finally, the team will conduct oral surveys with migrant and seasonal farmworkers in multiple states to obtain their preferences on healthcare outcomes as well as facilitators, challenges, and motivators.


Farmworker Justice, Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri, Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Health, Kansas Statewide Farmworker Health Program, Lafayette County Health Department, Migrant Clinicians Network, MHP Salud, National Center for Farmworker Health, REACH Healthcare Foundation, Rodgers Health, Treetop Productions, University of Kansas Center for Migration Research, and University of Kansas Center for the Study of Injustice.

This project was funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (#4430-KUCR). The information presented on this website or related products are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the PCORI, its Board of Governors or Methodology Committee. PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continually seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.




Project Lead:
Cheryl Holmes

Co-Project Lead:
Michelle Levy


Health Research Cluster: 
Frontier & Rural
Integrated Care
Behavioral Health

Health Research Cluster: 
Behavioral Health & Child Welfare Workforce Development
Children's Health & Mental Health


KU Position:
Researcher Associate
KU Position:
Researcher Associate














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Project Deliverables:

Social Welfare Events