Interview and Counseling of a Farmworker

Case Number: SLS Simulation No. 98-003
Title: Interview and Counseling of a Farmworker
Author: Barton H. (“Buzz”) Thompson, Jr., Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law and Flora Y. F. Chu, Lecturer

Abstract: This simulation centers on the health complaints of a fictional farmworker, Miguel Zapata, and his family. As a farmworker working in the cotton fields in the Central Valley of California, Mr. Zapata is heavily exposed to pesticides, herbicides, and other agricultural chemicals. Students, given a bare minimum of information about the Zapatas, are assigned to work in multidisciplinary teams to interview, investigate and counsel Mr. Zapata on his available options. In addition to providing training for students on the basic interviewing and counseling skills, this simulation is designed to present scientific issues that highlight the differing and sometimes conflicting perspectives of the lay public, scientists, and legal professionals. Students have to identify these multiple perspectives, reflect on and arrive at an understanding on their impact, and, with the help of Mr. Zapata, arrive at a plan of action for Mr. Zapata that would best address his concerns.

Key Words: Farmworker, pesticides, pesticide drift, pesticide exposure, health effects of pesticides, organophosphates, occupational health and safety, interviewing, counseling, scientific uncertainty, legal rights of farmworkers.