183265 Comienzo Sano: Familia Saludable-Creating opportunities for student experiential learning through the development of a culturally and linguistically relevant maternal child health program

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 5:15 PM

Britt Rios-Ellis, PhD, MS , NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Gail Frank, DrPH, RD , Family and Consumer Sciences Department, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Kevin Malotte, DrPH , Center for Health Care Innovation, CSULB, Long Beach, CA
Melawhy L. Garcia, BA , NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Diana Sosa, BS , NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Latino students, compared to other racial and ethnic groups, continue to be underrepresented in both undergraduate and graduate public health programs. This is due to several barriers, including: socioeconomic status, few role models, and lack of encouragement and mentoring. The Comienzo Sano: Familia Saludable (Healthy Start: Healthy Family) Project is an innovative, multidisciplinary program that serves to ameliorate the lack of Latino health professionals by recruiting and training first generation-educated, bilingual, bicultural students to participate in efforts to reduce maternal and childhood overweight among Latina participants in the Women, Infants, and Children's (WIC) Program.

By encouraging students to work alongside faculty in the needs assessment, curriculum development, educational and evaluation phases of the program, students gain valuable hands on experience in implementing culturally and linguistically relevant public health education. Student promotores are trained in community participatory research methods, health education methods, nutrition, motivational interviewing and the community health outreach model. They receive academic guidance, mentoring, financial assistance, and scholarships, and are given opportunities for personal and professional development, including presentation and conference attendance opportunities.

The Comienzo Sano: Familia Saludable program has important public health and social justice implications as it addresses inequities inherent in the increasing rates of Latino obesity/childhood overweight, while providing students with an opportunity to learn from and provide for their respective communities. Preliminary findings and implementation strategies will be shared.

Learning Objectives:
Describe strategies for the creation of an innovative multidisciplinary program promoting public health careers among underrepresented ethnic groups. Articulate culturally and linguistically effective strategies in working with the Latino community to promote breastfeeding and reduce maternal obesity and childhood overweight.

Keywords: Outreach Programs, Public Health Education and Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator.
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.