In March of this year, the Healthcare Foundation issued grants totaling $100,000 to four local organizations that employ Community Health Workers/Promotores de Salud: Alliance Medical Center, The Botanical Bus, Corazón Healdsburg and Nuestra Comunidad. These nonprofits are part of a county-wide network of community-based organizations that deploy and support training and resources for Promotores, who function as essential and trusted health liaisons for underserved and marginalized communities.
The Healthcare Foundation understands that Promotores strengthen our local healthcare system by creating and sustaining vital relationships to residents who too often fall outside of our systems of care. Significantly, this strategic focus on supporting Promotores dovetails with the Healthcare Foundation’s growing emphasis on farmworker health.
As was apparent during the pandemic, wildfires and floods, our region’s farmworkers and their families are particularly vulnerable to erratic and insecure working environments as well as the environmental and other impacts associated with climate crisis.
Promotores employed by our grantee organizations serve as critical channels of information to and from the farmworker population as well as translators, providers of basic services, and health system navigators. This important role played by Promotores in farmworker health was affirmed by a preliminary canvassing of community partners and grantees that the Healthcare Foundation conducted earlier this year.
“We see support for Promotores as a leading-edge strategy for advancing health equity, and we are proud to be partnering with these four organizations and others who are playing an important role in developing and deploying the Community Healthworker/Promotores workforce.”
“Providing outreach to inform farmworkers of what services are available to them is key,” noted Bertha Diaz, a Promotora with Alexander Valley Healthcare. Other experts echoed and expanded on this point. Jocelyn Boreta, executive director and co-founder of The Botanical Bus, noted that her organization’s Farmworker Clinic program “is founded and led by Latine and Indigenous Promotora Community Health Workers, many of whom identify as Campesinas [Farmworkers] themselves.”
“Based on the proven success of the self-healing community model,” she continued, “Promotora CHWs are uniquely qualified to provide culturally centered care in their own communities.”
As Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Kim Bender said on the occasion of the new funding, “We see support for Promotores as a leading-edge strategy for advancing health equity, and we are proud to be partnering with these four organizations, as well as others, who are playing an important role in developing and deploying the Community Healthworker/Promotores workforce.”
The goal of eliminating health inequities in northern Sonoma County necessarily entails ensuring that our most vulnerable populations have access to high-quality, culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate systems of care. Promotores are uniquely positioned to connect farmworkers and their families to the information, resources, and services they need and deserve in order to thrive as members of our community and vital contributors to our region’s culture, prosperity and wellbeing.