Discipline: Community Trainee
Crystal Cron is a Community Health Worker and health justice activist working with migrant and seasonal farm workers in Southern Maine. After growing up in poverty in Maine, Crystal obtained a degree in psychology hoping to better understand and serve the social and emotional health of her family, her community and of people living in poverty. Nearing graduation Crystal realized that while she maintained a strong belief in accessible mental health services, her real passion was fighting for equitable and universal access to healthcare. Following her graduation from Suffolk University, Crystal became a full-time caregiver to her 90-year-old grandmother, serving as an interpreter, advocate, home health worker, social worker and support person. Navigating the complex healthcare system was incredibly challenging and these challenges were compounded by language access issues, racism and classism. Stepping into the exam room was often a painful experience, and was just as much political as it was about seeking care. Being a caregiver further strengthened her desire to fight for a just and equitable healthcare system that truly serves the needs of patients and not profits. Crystal is pursuing a career in nursing, so that she can combine her clinical, advocacy and social work skills to provide care that is prevention focused and patient- and community- centered. In her role as a Community Health Worker with Maine Mobile Health Program, she has successfully established and managed a new program in Southern Maine, and has connected over 80 Spanish-speaking workers to primary, dental and vision care, many of whom had never accessed healthcare. She plans to use her experience with the LEND program to develop meaningful, culturally and linguistically appropriate materials and protocols to educate and support non-English speakers in Maine who have or are caring for family members with neurodevelopmental disabilities.