Language can be a significant barrier when accessing healthcare services, and Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) is tackling this issue through a free health education program that is helping hundreds of northwest suburban residents. Promotoras de Salud – Promoters of Health – is reaching out to the Latino community with important health and social service referral information in Spanish.
Promotoras de Salud is a nationally-recognized model for engaging the Latino community in disease prevention, health promotion and community building. Individual and group presentations are conducted at a variety of neighborhood locations, where Spanish-speaking residents gain valuable healthcare knowledge from a Promotora, or ambassador, of NCH.
The Promotoras program trains Latina women, who have been identified as leaders in their community, to serve as a Promotora and deliver important health information in Spanish. The approach is effective, as Promotoras work from within their own communities and share the same values, culture, language, and life experiences as the individuals they teach.
In cooperation with Partners for Our Communities, NCH launched the program in 2007, which provides education on diabetes and nutrition, breastfeeding, child care and domestic violence awareness. The Promotoras also round on the mother-baby floor at NCH each day providing bedside and post-discharge breastfeeding support to Spanish-speaking mothers.
Breastfeeding is highly encouraged as a strategy to prevent obesity in children, as breastfed babies are 40 to 70 percent less likely to be overweight children and adults. One Promotora is trained in congestive heart failure and supports Spanish-speaking patients when they are discharged.
The Promotoras program not only aims to educate the Latino community about these health and lifestyle topics, but also to build the leadership skills of the Promotora and encourage them to pursue careers in healthcare.
Spanish-speaking residents interested in receiving education and support from a Promotora should call 847-776-9559.