|Nancy Fernandez Mills , Volunteers in Medicine|
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Volunteers in Medicine
Launch Pad Finalist
In the Berkshires, a popular tourist area in western Massachusetts, immigrants are the invisible workers in our hotels, restaurants, dry cleaners and landscape businesses who help keep many small businesses afloat. Their hours are long, and the pay is low. They live with daily stress and isolation from family who are still in Latin America. This population is often uninsured and therefore at increased risk for undetected illnesses, particularly illnesses affected by diets high in fat, salt and cholesterol, and high levels of stress.
A program that involves holistic health education around nutrition, exercise and stress management is needed in the Berkshires and beyond. That program must be presented in Spanish and ideally would be presented with community and family involvement.
About Nancy Fernandez Mills
As a volunteer, I have been counseling patients at Volunteers in Medicine for more than a year, and I'm always moved by the stories of the patients and the dedication of the volunteer clinicians and other professionals. The patients are so grateful for the care, information and support they get at the clinic. But there is so much more that we could do with better outreach and programs open to the whole community and to families, not just to the uninsured adults we treat.