Promotoras Voice Their Challenges in Fulfilling Their Role as Community Health Workers

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Social Work


Promotoras de salud (Spanish for female community health workers) are integral to efforts to enhance the health and well-being of Latinx individuals, families, and communities. The purpose of this study was to describe the challenges that promotoras face and the proposed solutions from the perspective of the promotoras themselves. Five promotoras who worked for a year as volunteers in a community-based participatory research study, Lazos Hispanos, participated in two group interviews. Eight challenges emerged—balancing their new work with their family commitments, handling their perceived imbalance of power with men, managing the emotional impact of hearing participants’ problems, facing and handling the barriers imposed by having limited English language skills, feeling discouraged by the perception of ethnocentric beliefs and discrimination from some providers, feeling disheartened by the cultural beliefs of some Latinx participants, handling the lack of transportation for themselves and for the participants, and managing the burden of data collection for the research aspect of the program. The explanation of these challenges and the practical solutions they proposed are embedded in their intersecting identities. The solutions are a valuable addition to the practice of health promotion and community-based participatory research, particularly within Latinx communities.


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