Promotora Model as a Method of Health Intervention in US Latino Immigrant Populations

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Ramona Montez


Many of the health disparities experienced by Latino immigrants
add up to Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is defined
as “a cluster of several cardio-metabolic risk factors” such as
high blood pressure (hypertension), large waist circumference,
high fasting glucose levels, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
(HDL-C) levels, and elevated triglyceride levels. All of these
risk factors combined identify individuals with elevated risk of cardiovascular
disease (CVD) and Type 2 diabetes. In the 2006
Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey, it was discovered
that 30% of adults (20+ years) of both sexes were obese, and
more than 40% of Mexicans had 3 or more Metabolic Syndrome
components, indicating that the Mexican population in general is
particularly vulnerable to contracting Metabolic Syndrome. In order
to work with all of the aforementioned disparities, there has
been a recent upswing in the number of Promotoras in the US to
work with disadvantaged Latino communities. By definition, Promotoras
are “trusted health care workers of underserved, at-risk
Hispanic communities experiencing social and health inequities.”
Promotoras are especially effective in this setting because they
are “lay members of communities who work either for pay or as
volunteers in association with the local healthcare system in both
urban and rural environments and usually share ethnicity, language,
socioeconomic status and life experiences with the communities
they serve.” Because of this, they know the social dynamics
and networks as well as the strengths, needs, and challenges
that are specific to their communities.

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