Costa Layman Health Fair provides unparalleled opportunity in community health

By Megan Griffis, Marie Dominguez & Victoria Bethel |

Students from the Augusta University College of Nursing perform health care screenings at the Costa Layman Health Fair (photo by Sara Carney)

Nursing students from AU’s Clinical Nurse Leader Pre-Licensure program helped to coordinate a health fair for farm workers at Costa Farms in Trenton, South Carolina on Friday, June 29.

Started 13 years ago by Debbie Layman and Augusta University College of Nursing Professor Pam Cromer, the annual Costa Layman Health Fair is an interdisciplinary event involving efforts from various programs across the university as well as community members. The fair serves over 200 Costa Farm workers, many of whom are migrant. This event may be the only source of health care for some of the farmworkers.

One Costa worker, Elizabeth Guzman, has been working at the farm for 10 years. Although she seeks routine medical care away from Costa Farms, she said that for many of her colleagues, the fair is an opportunity to receive care even when they do not have the coverage to otherwise do so. She also believes that having health care available to the workers is an advantage. She likes all of the services offered at the health fair and she plans to attend again next year.

Another employee, Teresa Chavez, has been working in South Carolina for two years after previously being employed in Texas. She commented on enjoying being able to receive consultation on the results of bloodwork drawn by nursing students and trained phlebotomists at Costa Farms two weeks prior, also during the employees’ workday.

This is Chavez’s first year at the health fair, and she mentioned enjoying the fair because of how convenient it is for the workers at Costa Farms.

“I like it because it is very convenient and I can do everything while I am here instead of having to go somewhere else afterward,” she said.

Teresa said that they do not miss any work time hours due to the fair. She said she does not necessarily have health problems, but if she has questions about her health she can ask while she is there. She was excited to say that she would be attending next years health fair as well.

David Mack is from the Augusta area and has attended the health fair both years he has worked Costa Farms. He said his favorite station is the bone density machine because it feels like a foot massage.

He said “The best benefit of the health fair is getting to know if there is anything wrong with your body and you can go ahead and get checked out especially as you get older like me.”

He plans on coming back to the health fair as long as he is here.

During the fair, the labs were analyzed by volunteer primary care practitioners, who were translated by volunteer interpreters. Elders Kyle Ransom and Justin Spencer were two such participants who had received Spanish training through the Mormon Church. They were recruited by nursing students and Layman Family Scholarship recipient, Anne Munson.

“We received a mission call as missionaries,” Ransom said when asked how they learned Spanish. “We get assigned to a specific area in the world, and we were called to speak Spanish here in Georgia and South Carolina. I actually went to Mexico City and the Church has a school down there and for six weeks we spoke only Spanish and tried to learn as much as we could”. Elder Spencer said he did the same but went to Utah instead, where the church has another school.

Random said “For the mission [in Mexico City], we actually save up kind of our whole lives to be able to go through without working at all. To pay our way. While we were there, there was a lot of class, but we were also able to learn with the people. They would come into the school and we would speak with them.”


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