Drawing from America Bracho’s experience at Latina Health Access, people are experts in their lives, and we are obligated to creating mechanisms for them to help themselves and help others. Ethical principles of respect, inclusion and self-determination are at the core of these views.
Promotores programs can be designed to increase the benefit of self-help and mutual help activities, assuring at the same time that participants are connected with other groups and services as needed.
Participants in the workshop will become familiar with the specific role promotores have not only in helping other individuals but also in improving community conditions, fighting for social justice and equity to create environments for children and adults can grow up with safety, emotional wellness and opportunities to thrive.
During this workshop participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the following questions: Who owns the right to talk about one’s mental health? Do community members need to have a degree to support their own mental health and that of their neighbors and communities? Why does the health field focus so much people’s problems and so little on people’s strengths? Why do people prefer not to talk about mental illness? Why is it important to include community members as community health workers (promotores) particularly those affected by emotional or mental health problems in supporting others with similar issues or in similar circumstances? Why is it essential to focus on strength based model?
How can we train and coach promotores/CHWs in ways that respect and honor their wisdom while simultaneously increasing their ability to have an impact on and benefit others? How do we help promotores/CHWs to recognize the need to refer and connect participants with other groups and providers and to do it appropriately?
- Articulate three reasons why including individuals affected by emotional health issues as part of the mental health team makes programmatic sense and honors the ethical principles of respect, inclusion and self-determination.
- Describe how promotores/CHWs can increase their ability to help and provide benefits to their peers affected by emotional and mental health issues by using their wisdom and experience and receiving appropriate training and coaching on these matters. Describe how this practice honors the ethical principles of benefit and do no harm.
- Discuss the potential professional barriers to working with promotores including those related to liability; boundaries, power/authority and the ethical principle of do no harm and how best practices in the recruitment, training and supervision of community workers could help remove those barriers.
Leading Public Health expert, America Bracho, MD, MPH, is the Executive Director of Latino Health Access, a center for health promotion and disease prevention located in Santa Ana, California. This Center was created under her leadership to assist with the multiple health needs of Latinos in Orange County.
Latino Health Access facilitates mechanisms of empowerment for the Latino community and uses participatory approaches to community health education. The programs train community health workers as leaders of wellness and change. Ms. Bracho worked as a physician in her native Venezuela for several years, after which she came to the U.S. to obtain a Master’s Degree in Public Health at the University of Michigan. Her Public Health specialty is Health Education and Health Behavior.