Promotoras de Salud
The goal of this project was to provide technology and training to Promotoras, lay-health advisors in the Hispanic and Latino community in Kansas City, Kansas through collaboration between El Centro, Kansas City, Kansas Public Libraries (KCKPL), and Dykes Library at KU Medical Center. We purchased six laptops and provided a series of training classes for the Promotoras with the intent that they would use the technology to provide reliable health information to their peers.
Wyandotte County is ranked among the five least healthy counties in Kansas, despite recent economic development that has left average income among the highest in the state. About 26 percent of the county's residents — or nearly 42,000 people — are Latino. A recent survey by the Latino Health for All Coalition showed that Latinos have significantly less health care coverage, are more likely to be overweight, have higher rates of diabetes, and exercise much less than Latinos elsewhere in Kansas or the national population.
- Ongoing training — The initial series of trainings by Spanish-speaking librarians from KCKPL had moderate attendance. Those that did attend seemed engaged and interested in continuing training through classes offered at the public library. However, the Director of the Promotoras program at El Centro reported the Promotoras responded more positively to small group or individual instruction over a period of time. Recurring computer training was built into the schedule, giving those who needed more time and attention the opportunity to gain more practice.
- Branded materials — Branded business cards and notepads (similar to Information Rx pads) were printed with the Promotoras’ logo for them to use when interacting with the community. Although it’s too soon to determine exactly how successful this will be, we are hopeful these materials will create a sense of ownership for the Promotoras and increase the visibility of the program among their peers.
Evidence of Success
- Increased technology skills – Although it’s taken more time than originally planned, the Promotoras are becoming more comfortable using technology. Through another program, they are learning about weight management and will then be facilitating support groups in their communities. Part of the training includes identifying web sites that have reliable and accessible information for their peers.
- Funding – A grant from the Midcontinental Region of the NN/LM allowed us to purchase the six laptops, including broadband cards.
- Bi-lingual librarians – It was crucial that the Spanish-speaking librarians from KCKPL deliver the instruction. These librarians already delivered most of this content on a regular basis at their libraries so they were comfortable with the subject matter and the Promotoras responded to their trainings.
- Collaboration — This project was dependent on the three organizations working together, as each brought their own expertise and talents that made it successful.