Congratulations to Martha Madero, Community Health Worker (CHW) for Family Medicine Residency of Idaho (FMRI). Martha was nominated as a Health Center Hero by the National Association of Community Health Centers. She was selected as one of ten nominees from among hundreds around the country.
Martha began her career as a medical assistant and now is a CHW working mostly with Latino seasonal farmworkers.
“Martha is incredibly effective at her job as a CHW due to her perseverance, her motivational interviewing skills, and her deep understanding of the culture in which her patients live,” writes Penny Beach, MD, Chief Medical Officer FMRI.
She understands her patients because she has lived their lives. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico, working as seasonal farmworkers. Martha was born in the U.S. and started working in the fields with her family at the age of nine. Her formal education ended after tenth grade when she went to work in the fields full time. In her early 20s, while caring for her two small children, she went back to school and finished her GED and her medical assistant certification.
As a medical assistant, Martha’s language skills and cultural competence were a huge asset. She picked up quickly on medical concepts and translated them into a language understood by her Latino clientele. Soon she was doing much of the Spanish-speaking patient education for the physicians for whom she worked.
When FMRI began its CHW program in 2014, Martha was the natural choice to hire as their first CHW. When Martha started, FMRI cared for 10 migrant farmworkers. Thanks to the outreach efforts of Martha and her colleagues, FMRI now has more than 400 migrant farmworker patients.
Martha has worked with illiterate, non-compliant patients who have complex health care needs by helping them understand how to take their medications and wrangling up family support. She has kept elderly patients out of the hospital by showing them how to take their medications correctly, removing fall hazards from their homes, and connecting them with health education, dental care and housing resources.
“Martha Madero…has saved hundreds of thousands of health care dollars in her work with complex medical patients. In the process, she has helped reduce health care disparities. And most of all, she improves the quality of life for all the patients she touches,” writes Beach.