Health Center News

NHCW Health Center Hero Nominee: Martha Madero

Nominee: Martha Madero

Organization: Family Medicine Health Center (Operated by Family Medicine Residency of Idaho)

Martha Madero has worked in Community Health Centers for over a decade. Beginning her career first as a medical assistant and now as community health worker working mostly with Latino seasonal farmworkers.

“Martha is incredibly effective at her job as a [community health worker] 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 Family Medicine Residency of Idaho (FMRI).

She understands her patients because she has lived their lives. Both of her parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico, working as seasonal farmworkers. Martha was born in the United States and started working in the fields with her family at the age of 9, cleaning and topping corn and thinning out beets. Her formal education ended after tenth grade when she went to work in the fields full time, stymied from pursuing further formal education by dyslexia. 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, Madero’s language skills and cultural competence were a huge asset. She picked up quickly on medical concepts and was able to translate 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. She knew all her patients and their families and would go the extra mile to help then with social needs, such as finding cribs, baby clothes, and food for those in need.

Martha delivering water to farm workers.

When FMRI began its community health worker program in 2014, Madero was the natural choice to hire as the 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.

Madero has worked with illiterate, non-compliant patients who have complex health care needs by helping them understand how to take their medications using a pillbox, smartphone technology 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 home, and connecting them with health education, dental care and housing resources. Madero provided a new mom-to-be with all the information she needed to make healthy choices after a gestational diabetes diagnosis. Martha understands her patients and works hard to help remove their barriers to health.

“Martha Madero is a health center hero. She 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.

To vote for the Health Center Hero Award Recipient visit the NACHC Facebook Page.


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