Community Health Workers and Promotoras de Salud (Health Promoters) provide valuable services.
Greater Kansas City is fortunate to have Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Promotoras to serve as face-to-face care coordinators and health system navigators for peers in their communities. They help bridge cultural, language, knowledge, and literacy barriers and assist health service providers in improving health outcomes of individuals and families in underserved populations.
What do Community Health Workers do?
- Connect patients to needed community resources and social services.
- Increase access to and use of preventive education, screenings and treatment services.
- Reduce unnecessary use of urgent hospital emergency department care.
- Improve self-management of chronic diseases.
- Strengthen patient health literacy and culturally competent provider practices.
- Build capacity in communities to address the underlying causes of ill health.
- Help individuals and families obtain and maintain health insurance coverage.
Regionally 20 Community Health Workers partner with, St. Luke’s Health System, the University of Kansas Health System, nine safety net clinics, the Area Agency on Aging, community-based organizations such as domestic violence shelters, and faith-based organizations. CHWs are embedded in care teams at hospitals and clinics and also make home visits. They handle referrals from nurses, social workers, providers, and develop needs-based care plans to teach patients how to self-manage and navigate the healthcare and social service systems.
Promotoras de Salud (Health Promoters) provide education and information on healthy lifestyles for people who speak Spanish as their primary language. Promotoras are recruited in schools, churches, or any place where Latinos gather within the community. These volunteers hold informational group meetings and go out into the community to spread the message of good health. Their goal is to eliminate health disparities in a community that is already underserved and isolated due to language barriers, lack of insurance, and the difficulty of entering the mainstream health system.
Promotoras’ de Salud objectives are to:
- Empower Latinos to serve as links between their community and the healthcare system.
- Promote smoking cessation, physical activity, and healthy nutrition.
- Address health disparities within the Latino community.
- Assess the health needs of the community.
- Develop community leaders.
During the last six years, more than 130 individuals have been trained as Health Promotores by El Centro. For more information or interest in being a Promotor(a), contact the Promotoras Program Manager Elizabeth Reynoso at [email protected] or 913.677.0100 ext. 116.
SOURCE: MARC (Mid-America Regional Council)