Michigan Farmworker Project (MFP)

The Michigan Farmworker Project (MFP) is a community-engaged project that aims to provide a deeper understanding of the complex working and living conditions of migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the state of Michigan and the relationship with health outcomes in this population. The MFP seeks to identify indicators of labor exploitation in farmworkers and relate this understanding to farmworker’s psychosocial, occupational and environmental risk factors as well as gaps in service provision and recommendations from farmworkers themselves to address their current working and living conditions.

Key Personnel

  • Alexis Handal, PhD, MPH, Study Lead
  • Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, Study Lead

Preliminary Analysis: MFP and COVID-19 Pandemic

The MFP found that farmworkers (migrant, seasonal, and H-2A)—considered "essential workers" - face challenging working and living conditions that are critical to address during the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to limit COVID-19 risks in this population require an evidence-based, multifactorial approach that involves workers, employees, and stake-holders. In a policy brief, the researchers recommend that enforcement actions be taken to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protection and mitigation guidelines instead of reliance on self-compliance.

Reports and Policy Briefs


These are the most recent news items for the Michigan Farmworker Project (MFP). View all Center news.

IN THE NEWS: Center Core Faculty Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos featured on “Agents of Change in Environmental Justice” podcast (AUDIO 🔊)
Dr. Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos joins the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast to discuss her recent research on the dehumanizing work conditions for farmworkers in Michigan and what we can do to address these injustices. Iglesias-Ríos, a research investigator at the department of epidemiology in the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and lead investigator of the Michigan Farmworker Project, also discusses how a lack of health care and other social resources impact the farmworkers, as well as policies that would help to mitigate some of these workplace harms.
Read more at Environmental Health News
Posted: March 20 2024
IN THE NEWS: Michigan Farmworker Project featured on “Population Healthy” podcast (AUDIO 🔊)
“There’s very little research, formal research that has been done with this population in the state. We want to understand how precarious employment and labor exploitation affect the health of workers within the context of occupational and environmental epidemiology and look at more structural factors that drive these issues of precarity and labor exploitation.” — Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA
“The underlying theme of the work that we’ve been doing is that data is needed, evidence is needed to be able to inform policy changes, to inform programmatic changes that can make service provision more efficient and better for the farmworker community. And so the way we see it as researchers, as epidemiologists, is that we want to contribute by conducting rigorous, high quality epidemiologic studies.” — Alexis J. Handal, PhD, MPH
Read more at Population Healthy
Posted: March 01 2024
IN THE NEWS: Michigan Farmworker Project featured on Michigan Public’s “Stateside” (AUDIO 🔊)
“The exploitation of the workers often is threaded through their environment, their working, and their living environment. We have to look at the whole context and the whole picture to really try to understand how this type of work impacts worker health, as well as the health of their families and their communities.” — Alexis J. Handal, PhD, MPH
“Most research in public health has captured occupational and environmental exposures like injuries, falls, or exposure to pesticides in the workers, but we see the importance of contextualizing why farmworkers suffer from occupational and environmental exposures, the dynamics of the working environment, and fundamentally the social vulnerability of workers.” — Lisbeth Iglesias-Ríos, PhD, MPH, MA
Read more at Michigan Public
Posted: December 11 2023