PROMOTORES DE SALUD PROGRAM:
HEALTH LITERACY PROJECT
The Health Literacy Project is a community outreach initiative in partnership with the University of Missouri Cambio Center, sponsored by the University of Missouri Health Policy Center and funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health.
Services the new Promotores de Salud provides include:
Referrals to appropriate health care providers.
Follow up to health care/pharmacy appointments.
Health education/Health literacy services.
Medications management/medications adherence assistance.
Making and keeping appointments with health care providers.
Preventive approach to health care, rather than reliance on Emergency Room service.
Promotion of healthy lifestyle choices, nutrition, daily exercise.
Service coordination/linkage to health resources and programs (dental, health care, substance abuse, mental health, housing, etc.)
Consumer advocacy and education for community.
Raising awareness and education for providers on health needs of Latinos.
Spanish language health education resource materials.
Centro Latino provides referrals to the following agencies and health care providers: Family Health Center, FHC Dental Clinic, Columbia/Boone County Health Department, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Boone Hospital Convenience Clinic, Dr. Mack’s Walk-in-Clinic, local dentists and others.
Centro Latino de Salud provides medical interpreting services to health care providers. Presently Centro Latino de Salud has signed a contract with the Family Health Center Dental Clinic to provide medical interpreting as needed.
HIV EDUCATION AND PREVENTION
HIV/AIDS testing is vital for this population because HIV is spreading rapidly through this population, which is undereducated about the transmission and severity of the virus. The primary goal of the HIV testing and counseling program at Centro Latino as performed by the Promotoras de Salud is to access this population, provide information in Spanish, and ensures that all interested clients receive free HIV tests at the local Health Department.. These services have been offered at Centro Latino since April 2001. Centro Latino partners with the Boone County/Columbia Health Department, which provides the Rapid testing. Clients are referred to the Health Department and the RAIN office for case management. Centro Latino welcomes any clients who wish to be tested, learn about the disease, or speak confidentially about their struggle with the disease. Condoms are available, free of charge. La Tardeada, an educational video about HIV and AIDS, is offered for viewing to any interested clients.
HEALTH LITERACY AND MEDICAL INTERPRETING
Health literacy includes the ability to understand instructions on prescription drug bottles, appointment slips, medical education brochures, doctor’s directions and consent forms, and the ability to negotiate complex health care systems. Health literacy is not simply the ability to read. It requires a complex group of reading, listening, analytical, and decision-making skills, and the ability to apply these skills to health situations. Spanish speakers are often at high risk for medication errors and misunderstanding due to the language barrier they face at the hospital, medical offices, and pharmacies. Promotoras will provide interpreting at these facilities to ensure that clients understand their health concerns and know how to take their medication.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLES, OBESITY PREVENTION
Obesity among children and adults has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. This condition has proven difficult to treat effectively, especially in terms of sustainable weight loss. Promotoras will demonstrate nutritional eating habits for families. They will also provide information and education relating to physical activities. Promotoras de Salud will identify new and unique culturally appropriate ways to incorporate healthy eating and physical activities within the Latino population.
Centro Latino offers resources and information for parties interested in family planning. Referrals are made to the Health Department for tests and case management. Promotoras will work with the PALS (Puertas a La Salud) program and with other local resources to provide this service. PALS is a grant-funded program offered by the Health Department to do case management and follow up of Latino pregnant women and their children until the age of one.
DIABETES TESTING AND EDUCATION
Any client interested in being tested is welcome to come to Centro Latino at any time to receive a free Diabetes test. Test results are confidential. Case management and counseling is offered by Centro Latino’s Health Coordinator and Promotoras and the clients are referred to health care providers when necessary. Newly diagnosed diabetics are welcome to come to Centro Latino to have finger sticks in order to test their blood sugar and express their concerns in their native language. Centro Latino works with local physicians in order to assist our uninsured, low income, working class clients to help them obtain their medications.
SOCIAL WORK AND MENTAL HEALTH
Social workers help people overcome problems and make their lives better. They might work with people who are homeless, sick, or having family problems. One of the ways social workers help is by finding resources for people. For a person with family difficulties, social workers might find a parenting class or support group. For a homeless person, they might find a place to live and a career training program. For a student, they might find a mentor or a learning disability expert. Some social workers set up resources like these. They research what kinds of help people need. Then, they set up programs to give that help. They might focus on child abuse, poverty, violence, and other problems. Promotoras will perform the duties of a social worker on many occasions. They must understand the role and know where to find resources in the community to help those in need. During 2007, Centro Latino provided 70 referrals for social and employment services. Centro Latino works with the MU School of Social Work students who intern with the organization for their field instruction. Centro Latino collaborates with NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) mental helath for referrals and written material.
CLINICAL REFERRALS AND DENTAL CARE
Promotoras will be responsible for helping consumers obtain health and dental services by understanding the health care system in our community. As health care needs arise in the community, the Promotora knows the appropriate place for referral and how that system operates as to facilitate the use of the services. They understand the payment system, how insurance works, how to make appointments, whether or not the clinic provides interpreting services, and ensure that the client is able to get to and from the appointment. Centro Latino works with a number of clinics that provide a variety of services – including dental services. The Promotora is responsible for helping the client obtain the services they need.
WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN (WIC)
WIC is a nutrition program provided through the Columbia/Boone County Health Department. Services provided include: nutrition education and counseling, health screening and risk assessment, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to other services. Pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to five years of age are eligible for WIC services. Centro Latino de Salud makes referrals for newcomers to our community to the program.
The program connects the Latino community to health and human resources. Latino Link is a health care outreach initiative sponsored by the Columbia/Boone County Health Department in collaboration with the Family Health Center and Centro Latino de Salud, Educación y Cultura. With the goal of ensuring access to affordable medical care for Latinos, the program was established in 2001 through a grant from the Federal Office of Minority Health and Senior Services. The grant placed a community health outreach worker at Centro Latino de Salud, who provided screenings for HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and hypertension, while also providing health education information and referrals. In addition the grant provided Centro Latino, the Family Health Center and the Columbia/Boone County Health Department each with a bilingual social worker. Presently Centro Latino’s community outreach worker is covered by a Health Coordinator and two Promotoras de Salud.