“We believe education should be open to anyone wanting to really learn. The best way to invest in young people is through education.”
At first glance, Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health, School of Dentistry and Eye Institute might seem unrelated. But when you look closer, you discover how one mission ties all of LLU together.
Community Impact, One Life at a Time
Every year, migrant farm workers in the Coachella Valley help grow and harvest food that will feed our community. Working in 100+ degree heat with little to no shade, these workers don’t have the luxury of stopping to complain. There’s nothing to do but get the job done.
But it’s one thing to have a tough job. It’s quite another to have a tough job without access to basic healthcare services. J.C. Belliard, director of the Institute for Community Partnerships, says most farm workers don’t have access to dental and vision care. To help solve this, J.C. works alongside School of Public Health graduate student Olivia Rodriguez. Olivia grew up in the area and always wanted to come back to make a difference at home.
Every quarter, the two organize the Coachella Connect health fair with help from LLU’s School of Dentistry and Eye Institute. Farm workers come from all over to see healthcare professionals for basic health services that make a big difference. People are surprised to hear Olivia tell them there’s no cost. “No, this is for you! It’s free.”
From simple prescription glasses to complex dental surgery, the health fair gives people what they should have never been without. This often overlooked part of our community gives all of us so much — J.C. and Olivia are proud to give back.
Donor Support Makes the Difference
Drs. Ella and Edmond Haddad help make stories like this one possible. The Haddads have long supported Loma Linda University’s School of Dentistry and School of Public Health. Their scholarships ensure students, like Olivia, have the skills they need to bring healing with them wherever they serve. They hope this support helps students improve health in the communities they call home.
The Haddads are investing in the next generation of health professionals.