What’s a Promotora?  In simple terms, a Promotora is a community health worker who’s a trusted member of the community and serves as a link between people and services to promote the overall health of family, friends and neighbors. Creating effective linkages between vulnerable populations and the health care system can be challenging in Arizona. Like many other agencies in Arizona, we’ve called on Promotoras to bridge the gap between community members and health care service providers. 

We have a long history of working with Promotoras.  In 1994 our Health Start Program was established and began utilizing them to link women, children, and families to services to reduce low birth weights and the number of children affected by childhood diseases. There are now 45 Promotoras in the Health Start Program who reflect the ethnic culture of their communities and receive extensive training on pregnancy, child growth and development, and community resources. Eligible families receive home visits by Promotoras during their pregnancy and after the birth of their children up to two years of age. 

Our Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program uses Promotoras to help manage services for high blood pressure in Yuma and Maricopa Counties.  We partner with the U of A to train Promatoras on identification, treatment and management of high blood pressure and the risk factors related to cardiovascular disease. In Yuma County, more than 1,400 patients are currently enrolled in this hypertension management program. The Maricopa County Hypertension Project is now underway at Wesley Community Health Center and is demonstrating a 100% compliance rate that patients get follow up services if needed. Any behavioral health patients seen at Wesley are referred to the Hypertension Project if they meet the requirements.  

As we look to the future, Promotoras will probably have an increasingly essential role in outreach, reducing health care disparities and emergency room costs within the changing healthcare environment. We’ve partnered with the U of A to call upon nationally respected experts to create the best strategy for Arizona to move forward in building a sustainable Promotora program.  To learn more about this exciting program contact Sara Rumann at [email protected] or David Heath at [email protected].