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News Briefs: Professor Leads Second Report on COVID Impact on Farmworkers

Cal State San Marcos professor Bonnie Bade is part of a team of academic researchers who came together last year to study the effects of COVID-19 on the vulnerable population of farmworkers throughout the state.  

The COVID-19 Farmworker Study (COFS) team released its first report last February, and now it’s back with another one. Bade, a professor of medical anthropology, participated in a press conference on Oct. 18 to discuss the new report highlighting extensive interviews with Indigenous agricultural workers and the dire conditions they are facing during the pandemic. 

Titled “Experts in Their Fields: The Lived Experiences of California Indigenous Agricultural Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the report shares stories of Indigenous farmworkers about COVID impacts and the support that these communities will need to recover from the pandemic. 

COFS is a research project facilitated by the California Institute for Rural Studies, a Davis-based organization for which Bade serves as a senior research associate. The institute collaborated with a team of social science researchers and six farmworker-serving, community-based organizations, including the FarmWorker CARE Coalition and Vista Community Clinic, which both are in North County.  

"During the pandemic, all farmworkers, classified as essential workers, have been living in stress and fear due to the lack of protection offered to them as essential workers who play a crucial role in global food supply chains," Bade said. "Indigenous farmworkers, who prefer the term 'campesinos' to recognize their ancient agricultural knowledge and crop specializations, experienced further marginalization that manifested largely as language justice issues. Campesinos speak pre-colonial languages like Mixtec, Zapotec and Triqui that have no relation to Spanish. Campesinos make up about one-quarter of the 800,000-plus farmworkers in California’s $50 billion per year agricultural industry.

"In addition to being excluded from economic and housing relief programs, the coronavirus educational materials, testing and vaccination efforts, online learning challenges for families and relief program paperwork have not recognized the language needs of the campesino communities and have further excluded them from appropriate COVID-19 protection protocols and relief programs. Because of the communal approach to society inherent in campesino communities, regional indigenous-language-speaking, community-based organizations have filled that gap by assisting campesinos with interpretation, financial, food and logistical support in the absence of culturally and linguistically appropriate federal, state and county assistance programs."


Psychology professor leads study on tobacco reporting tool 

CSUSM psychology professor Kimberley Pulvers is the lead author of a study that examines the impact of a new online reporting tool in shaping college campus attitudes and behaviors about smoke and tobacco-free (STF) policies. 

The study was published Oct. 21 in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research by Oxford University Press. It’s a joint venture between CSUSM and UC Davis.  

The study explores whether an online tool for crowdsourced reporting of tobacco use and related litter called Tobacco Tracker is effective in supporting STF policies on college campuses. Surveys were administered to students, faculty and staff at CSUSM and Davis, which both have 100% smoke- and tobacco-free policies in place. 

Results showed that awareness of Tobacco Tracker to report tobacco use or related litter on campus doubled, and use of the online tobacco reporting tool tripled, from pre- to post-assessment. 

“Campus community members are critical to the success of their smoke- and tobacco-free policies,” Pulvers said. “Almost all adult daily smokers started smoking before the age of 26, making college and university campuses a high priority for these policies.” 

Tobacco Tracker was developed based on student and staff input, as described in a related study published by the same team in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. In a user survey, the top motivations for using the tool were a cleaner environment (79%) followed by health concerns (69%).

Myra Rice, a 2020 graduate of CSUSM, contributed to the study.  


Alumnus receives administrator of year honor 

Carlsbad High School principal Bryan Brockett, an educational leadership graduate of the joint CSUSM-UC San Diego doctoral program, was recognized by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce as a School Administrator of the Year on Oct. 14. 

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