181884 A grass-roots approach to develop a Hispanic wellness curriculum in rural Idaho

Monday, October 27, 2008: 3:30 PM

Leonie L. Sutherland, PhD, RN , Department of Nursing, Boise State University, Boise, ID
Dawn M. Weiler, PhD, APRN-ANP , Department of Nursing, Boise State University, Boise, ID
Molly Prengaman, MS, RN, FNP , Department of Nursing, Boise State University, Boise, ID
Matthew Keifer, MD, MPH , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Linda Powell, MS, CPT , Mountain States Group, Boise, ID
Lesley Hoare, MS , Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

The Idaho Partnership for Hispanic Health (IPHH) is a community-based participatory research project focused on identifying the health condition of greatest concern to SW Idaho Hispanics and pilot testing an intervention and its effectiveness. The partnership includes two educational institutions, two Hispanic organizations, and a community non-profit organization. Following the completion of the first two phases of the project (community partnership and community advisory board (CAB) development, and quantitative and qualitative community assessment) the IPHH implemented phase three, intervention development and testing.


A promotora or community health worker program approach was selected as the most culturally congruent approach. Promotoras, leaders in traditional Mexican communities, are seen as trusted community members. They help promote health, in hard to reach Hispanic communities, by providing valuable services using culturally appropriate methods. The IPHH determined that a promotora model of education and family outreach, to address the health issues in a small rural community in Idaho

A 16 week, promotora run, family health promotion curriculum was designed as the mechanism to improve the health of Hispanics. Under the direction of the CAB the program included group education sessions and individual home family visits. Recognizing the unique issues surrounding Hispanic wellness a grass roots approach was utilized to develop the education curriculum. The CAB developed the curricular outline and provided input regarding content and learning activities. Suggestions included ways to adjust planned activities to more accurately reflect Hispanic practices. Additionally, the promotoras completed a community assessment to identify the issues that would support or hinder health promotion efforts. The curriculum was further revised, by the promotoras, accurately reflecting the unique needs of their community.


The “grass roots” approach provides an excellent mechanism to ensure that health promotion and education strategies are relevant to the target community. Avoiding the “cookie cutter” approach created a promotora driven health promotion intervention specific to the characteristics and needs of their community. The direct involvement of the promotoras in developing the curriculum resulted in ownership of the final product. Moreover, the community specific curriculum has given the promotoras the tools to sustain health promotion practices.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the process by which curriculum development can be enhanced using a grass roots approach 2. Identify methods to sustain a promotora-driven health education program.

Keywords: Health Education Strategies, Community Health Promoters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co-investigator for the Idaho Partnership for Hispanic Health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.