UC Davis medical college students are offering much-needed ache aid to farmworkers and their supporters this week on the ultimate segments of a 335-mile march to Sacramento. 

About 15 college students met up with the marchers within the Delta city of Walnut Grove on Tuesday to supply foot care. They handled blisters, bandaged wounds and helped soothe aching soles with buckets of chilly water and Epsom salt. 

Their volunteerism is a major alternative for college kids desperate to discover two of their best passions – supporting a social justice trigger and providing up their nascent well being care abilities. 

“The UC Davis College of Medication actually empowers us to be future physicians that wish to assist our neighborhood members,” mentioned Ferheen Abbasi, the second-year scholar who coordinated the volunteers.

“We have now a variety of expertise within the classroom however not as a lot expertise being out right here with our neighborhood members offering the care we will,” she added. 

The marchers are affiliated with the United Farm Staff (UFW) labor union. They’re on a 24-day trek from Delano in Kern County to the state Capitol. Their purpose is to boost consciousness of laws pending earlier than Gov. Gavin Newsom, which might make it simpler for farmworkers to vote for union illustration. 

Six medical students provide foot care to three men at a picnic table after walking 15 miles during a march for farmworkers
College of Medication college students present foot look after United Farm Staff marchers in Walnut Grove

When Abbasi first realized the marchers can be headed towards Sacramento, she contacted UFW leaders to ask if medical college students might present foot care and primary first assist throughout the ultimate days of the march. 

She then put out a name for scholar volunteers – 30 signed up instantly. She additionally acquired money donations in addition to medical provides from Second Breath, a corporation run by UC Davis College of Medication college students that works to discover a use for extra provides. 

On Tuesday afternoon, when college students would usually be finding out for midterms on gastrointestinal ailments, they took their place in parallel strains of a human tunnel at Dr. Paul Barnes Neighborhood Park, two blocks from the Sacramento River. Dozens of marchers walked via the tunnel, receiving excessive fives from college students, and singing the folks anthem, “De Colores,” which was popularized throughout the union’s marches within the Nineteen Sixties. 

After the marchers ate lunch, the scholars went into motion, asking in the event that they wanted first assist. 

Treating blisters the dimensions of grapes

Lots of the marchers eliminated their socks to point out blisters as giant as grapes. Others acquired their ankles taped and acquired foot massages. They have been thrilled to put their naked toes in buckets of chilly water and Epsom salt ready by the scholars. 

“I really feel such aid to place my toes within the water as a result of we’ve got blisters, our toes are swollen and the Epsom salt is tremendous refreshing,” mentioned Veronica Mota, a farmworker for 22 years. “This helps us to chill out our nerves and muscle tissue and offers us power to maintain going.”

The scholars, largely of their second 12 months of medical college, appreciated the hands-on studying alternative.

Currently they’ve been taking an endocrine course that teaches how diabetes causes peripheral neuropathy. “And one of many marchers had diabetes so we wished to verify we handled his toes in addition to potential, through massages to extend blood movement,” mentioned Abbasi, the volunteer coordinator who is also copresident for the Class of 2025.

“As future medical doctors, we’re going to should look after the neighborhood in California, particularly below the mission of our medical college – we wish to present assist to the communities that want us,” mentioned Julio Silieazar, a volunteer who aspires to be a surgeon and is a pacesetter with the UC Davis student-run free clinic in Knights Touchdown. 

“That is what rejuvenates me,” mentioned Juliana “Julie” Novaes, who shuttled medical provides from marcher to marcher on the park. This expertise was the primary time she’s cared for sufferers since beginning medical college final month.

“I hope to have the ability to work with farm-working populations sooner or later and Spanish-speaking communities in California,” she mentioned, “so it’s actually nice to get this first-hand expertise proper now earlier than I even change into a health care provider.”

College students will proceed to offer assist to the marchers on Wednesday in Elk Grove, and Thursday in Sacramento.

On Friday, some will attend the farmworker rally on the state Capitol, the place the UFW is anticipating 5,000 supporters.

Anybody fascinated by donating provides or cash can contact Abbasi at ferabbasi@ucdavis.edu


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