Today, Dr. Mona Mofid is bringing her world-class skills and years of experience in dermatology to migrant farm workers as part of the Farmworker Justice’s ReUnidos: Farmworker Connections to Care project. She is one of several medical professionals supporting the ongoing project, along with organizations such as The American Melanoma Foundation, and AIM at Melanoma.
Farmworker Justice is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and elevating the lives of low-income agricultural workers through a variety of initiatives. Farmworker Justice advocates for labor rights on behalf of agricultural workers, helping ensure equitable wages, humane work conditions, and collective bargaining for farm workers. Through raising awareness and advocating for shifts in policies, Farmworker Justice seeks to ensure that farm workers are treated with the reverence and dignity that they are owed.
Recognizing education as a potent tool for empowerment, Farmworker Justice is also dedicated to providing educational tools to farm workers. This empowers them to comprehend their rights, navigate labyrinthine legal processes, and tap into opportunities that catalyze personal and vocational development. The initiative works in close tandem with labor unions, human rights entities, healthcare providers, legal scholars, and community trailblazers. This collaborative tapestry forges a multidimensional approach to confront the intricate array of challenges that confront farm workers.
Acknowledging the strength that unity and communal support can bring, Farmworker Justice endeavors to weave a web of solidarity that interconnects farm workers, advocates, policy influencers, and allies. This interconnectedness forms a collective front to champion the rights of those toiling in the fields. Through interactive workshops, enlightening seminars, and resonant public campaigns, the initiative endeavors to cast a spotlight on the often-unnoticed contributions of farm workers and the pressing urgency for just treatment and unfettered resource access.
The organization also deals with common health hazards and health issues related to farm workers, including HIV/AIDS, toxic pesticides, workplace injuries, and skin cancer. The relentless dedication of farm laborers as the backbone of the country’s agricultural framework is undeniable. However, their unwavering commitment comes at a substantial cost. Engaged in toil under the open sky, they endure extended periods of sunlight exposure, significantly heightening their susceptibility to skin cancer. Despite their indispensable contribution to our sustenance, their health concerns are often relegated to the background.
Teaming up with medical experts, dermatologists, and healthcare advocates, Farmworker Justice is spearheading a concerted effort to heighten consciousness, provide vital insights into preventive measures, and provide easy access to medical care for skin cancer. This initiative seamlessly aligns with Farmworker Justice’s overarching mission, encompassing the pursuit of improved working conditions, accessible healthcare, and comprehensive well-being for those working in agriculture. By confronting the risk of skin cancer, the organization reaffirms its dedication to holistic advocacy that addresses both immediate and enduring health concerns. Because of the prevalence and rise of skin cancer, particularly among the Hispanic population, compounded by the lack of good medical access, experts such as Dr. Mona Mofidand Juan Kojima, PA-C, are providing pro bono dermatologic medical care for agricultural workers as part of this program.
Contributions to the project have included providing pro bono dermatology services and free biopsies for low-income farm workers. These services are significant because of the challenges associated with procuring high-quality dermatological services for low-income individuals. These services are also a valuable and crucial necessity for farm workers due to their increased risk for skin cancer and other skin conditions caused by extensive sun exposure.
Farm workers generally spend hours in the sun, which leads to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which can damage the DNA in skin cells, causing mutations that may develop into skin cancer. This can be especially dangerous to workers with lighter skin, since their lower levels of melanin leave them more vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation. Forms of skin cancer that farm workers can develop include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Fortunately, Dr. Mona Mofid has been treating patients with these conditions nearly her entire professional life, making her the most qualified individual to provide pro bono dermatological care for farm workers who spend most of their workdays in the sun.
Dr. Mona Mofid is uniquely suited to providing dermatological services because of her award-winning expertise both in dermatology and skin cancer pathology. She has voluntarily served as the Medical Director of the American Melanoma Foundation for approximately 20 years. Earlier in her career, Dr. Mona also served as the co-director of Johns Hopkins University’s Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Clinic. Her formidable reputation in the field of dermatology has garnered her numerous awards such as seven consecutive America’s Top Doctor awards from Castle Connolly.
Notably, Dr. Mona Mofid’s other philanthropic endeavors include co-funding the Dr. Mona and Jim Reopelle Home of Kindness, an orphanage in Nigeria and funding of a trained therapy dog for the San Diego Police Department. She recently won her 100th Guardian Angel Award from Sharp Healthcare for donations made to the hospital system by grateful patients in her honor.
Outside of her charitable efforts, Dr. Mona Mofid currently runs her private practice in San Diego and Coronado, California as part of the Sharp Community Medical Group alongside her experienced physician assistant, Juan Kojima, PA-C.
Farmworker Justice firmly believes that every individual bears a role in advocating for the rights and well-being of agricultural laborers. Whether individuals, enterprises, or organizations, all can engage by active involvement in campaigns and endorsement of petitions that call for improved labor rights and amplified healthcare access for farmworkers. Individuals can also contribute monetary support and resources to underpin educational initiatives, healthcare drives, and legal aid for farmworkers. Supporters can also propagate the Farmworker Justice message through diverse social media channels, dialogues, and educational gatherings to sow the seeds of unwavering support.
Farmworker Justice extends a resounding call to individuals, corporations, and policy makers to rally around their cause. By amplifying awareness, contributing resources, and advocating for enhanced protective measures for farm laborers, our entire country can collectively forge a path toward a safer, healthier environment for those whose tireless labor underpins our nation’s food supply.