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History of the Promotores de Salud

Promotores de Salud - Lay Health Promoters - are Spanish-speaking/bilingual members who are trained in basic medical knowledge to serve the Latino community. They promote health and direct individuals to appropriate medical care and advocate for them in the health care system.  Their language, culture, and social skills accommodate the population, and they have the spiritual connection through sharing the same faith.

Several years ago at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Betsie Weil, BSN, sought to revive and strengthen a defunct parish nursing program. Ms. Weil was familiar with lay health promoter programs from working in Central America.

While the lay health promoter movement originated in developing countries, where physicians, nurses and advanced medical resources are scarce, the programs have been successful in minority/underserved communities in the United States. Ms. Weil invited lay health promoters from Centro San Bonafacio, a successful program in Chicago, to come to Our Lady of Guadalupe in September 2000. For 2 years, Ms. Weil worked to develop a lay health promoter program. She established the Lay Health Promoter Committee (Committee de los Promotores de Salud) and several programs that are ongoing including blood pressure screening, diabetes screening, breast cancer screening and several educational programs.

Promotora/es also help the community access food banks, legal help, and other services. The health promoters also function as role models who are successfully navigating the new culture.

TODAY-- While no longer directly connected to the Catholic Church, we continue to serve not only Catholic parishioners, but those from other religions, and those who do not affiliate themselves with any specific church.  We are continually working to expand the health access of the Latino members of the Colorado Springs Diocese along with the surrounding community. Training for new promotoras [women] and promotores [men] in cancer, mental health, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease (to name a few) will ‘officially’ restart in November of 2008.  We vow to continue the work that Ms. Weil started at Our Lady of Guadalupe!
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