182378 Promotores Unidos of Santa Clara County: The journey from invisible contributors to empowered system change agents

Monday, October 27, 2008: 1:10 PM

Sonia Alvarez, MA MPH(c) , Department of Health Science, MPH Program, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
Blanca Schwarz , Promotores Unidos of Santa Clara County, San Jose, CA
As the adoption of the Promotores Model increases throughout the nation, it is to be expected that promotores, as other interest groups such as physicians, would benefit from associations that represent their interests. This presentation will analyze the process of creation of Promotores Unidos of Santa Clara County (PUSCC), the first association of Spanish-speaking “Promotores de Salud” in San Jose, California. PUSCC represents an effort to affirm both the identity of promotores, which has until now remained virtually invisible and to embark in a community-building effort with implications that range from the personal, to the systemic, the political and the economic realms. Equally important for health professionals will be to understand the significance of that process and outcome for promotores' effectiveness as well as for ensuring a stronger intended impact on the health care system by increasing both parties' understanding of each other.

The presentation will include information about PUSCC's goals, membership, organizational structure, collaborative relations with other community-based organizations, financial and administrative challenge, and programmatic accomplishments. County demographics, elements of the predominant medical model in the provision of services and unmet needs of a sizable Mexican undocumented migrant population will be included as background justification for the creation of PUSCC. Discussion of the reasons for the creation of PUSCC, its current objectives and future plans will include conceptual elements of the “mediating structures” paradigm, developed by Peter L.Berger and Richard John Neuhaus in the seventies but surprisingly relevant in analyzing organizations such as Promotores Unidos of Santa Clara County.

Learning Objectives:
1. To revisit the merits of incorporating the Promotor Model to advance health education and health promotion interventions among Mexican and Latin American migrant communities. 2. To identify key practical factors in the creation of a local association of promotores 3. To recognize the significance of “mediating structures” as vehicles for empowerment of otherwise disempowered communities within the larger health care system

Keywords: Community Health Promoters, Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the founders of the organization and have served as board member for the last 3 years
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.