Yesenia Chavez Medina had just moved to Westmorland, Calif. when she attended a presentation on children’s oral health led by two community health workers (CHWs) from Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo (CDSDP)—a Federally Qualified Migrant Health Center in Brawley, Calif. Supported by Red Nose Day Fund in 2016, the health center is part of the National Council of La Raza’s Healthy and Ready for the Future initiative which provides a healthy start in oral health and early education for Latino children from migrant and seasonal farmworker families across rural America.
While the CHWs, Cecilia Cota and Ana Solorio, discussed the importance of taking care of children’s oral health, the message struck Yesenia to her core. She considered herself a responsible mom, diligent about her children having health insurance through Medi-Cal and a stable family life despite having to move around as a migrant farmworker. Yet, she realized she had neglected their teeth. She feared her youngest sons, Miguel Angel, 4, and Jose Luis, 11, had cavities because they “sometimes complained of pain in their mouth or had what looked like rotting teeth.” Yesenia spoke with Cecilia and Ana, who helped schedule appointments.