MAY 2010

From left to right: Sayuri Griffin, R.N., Patricia Poon, R.N., Miriam Gonzales, R.N., and Sofie Vichaita, R.N.

UCLA Volunteers Provide Medical Care to Migrant Farm Workers

On March 27, seven UCLA Health System clinicians lent their time and expertise to help provide healthcare to nearly one thousand migrant farm workers and other medically underserved adults and children in Indio, Calif. – near Palm Springs – in a volunteer effort sponsored by Los Médicos Voladores (LMV, in Spanish, “the flying doctors”). Services provided included no-cost medical, dental and eye care and screenings, flu vaccinations and health education.

“Providing healthcare services in the community is very fulfilling and rewarding for me,” says Sofie Vichaita, R.N., who helped the cause by administering H1N1 flu vaccinations throughout the day. “Working with patients in a community setting presents different challenges than working with patients in a hospital setting,” she explains. Sofie works in the Gonda Observation Unit at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and organized the UCLA employees’ participation in the recent event.

Other volunteers included Patricia Poon, R.N., a long-time LMV volunteer, as well as Miriam Gonzales, R.N., Sayuri Griffin, R.N., Luis Sandoval, R.N. and Tianne Larson, R.N. Thuy Tran, M.D., an internist with the Manhattan Beach office of UCLA’s Community Physician Network, also joined the volunteer group.

LMV is a volunteer-based, nonprofit organization that recruits high-quality, licensed professionals to travel to Mexico, Central and South America and the southwestern United States to provide a range of healthcare services. While many volunteers are able to travel to the LMV clinics by car, the organization has established a corps of volunteer pilots to fly volunteers to designated locations when necessary.

UCLA volunteers operate or contribute to a number of organizations that deliver medical care, education and supplies to under-served populations in the U.S. and around the world, including the Mobile Clinic Project at UCLA, UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic and Global Health Force.

“I encourage everyone to consider lending their time and money to help provide ser- vices to children and adults who may otherwise go without basic healthcare,” Sofie says.