Promotoras/es (outreach workers) provide outreach and education to members of their community. Often their training is on-the-job, not formal, and in many cases they are volunteers. Promotoras/as are an integral part in linking underserved populations to existing resources and services. Promotoras/es play key liaison and educator roles among agricultural workers in particular, and their familiarity with binational health issues in the context of migration is imperative. The HIA promotoras/es program has two components: promotoras/es training manuals on migration and health, and promotoras/es exchanges and binational conferences.
To enhance the work of promotoras, HIA collaborates with its partners to produce Spanish-language promotoras manuals and training materials on health topics pertinent to migration and migrants.
HIA currently has a binational exchange program for promotora/es to build their knowledge of health care systems in both the United States and Mexico and to develop skills in providing culturally competent care.
Promotora/es from USA travel to Mexico to visit promotoras/es training sites and meet with their Mexican counterparts to experience firsthand the context in which they operate and their service communities live. Mexican promotoras/es have a comparable experience in California, where HIA and partner organizations host them and facilitate their exchange experiences. The promotoras/es are exposed to the social, cultural, and political environment in which Mexican migrants live and the ways in which their life circumstances affect personal decisions to seek health care, access existing health services, and comply with medical treatments.
Besides the exhanges, the Promotoras Conference share best practices and strategies implemented by the diverse network of promotoras in Mexico and in the United States, working towards the developing of a binational promotoras model.
The two main objectives of this conference are to 1) increase participants’ knowledge of the health care systems in Mexico and the United States; as well as the social and cultural factors that impact migrant’s health, and 2) increase participants’ awareness of challenges faced by migrants in California that influence their health; in the topics of mental health, occupational health and safety, women’s sexual and reproductive health, and human development.