Planned Parenthood launched its first Promotores de Salud programs in the early 1990s in Los Angeles to support Latinx community leaders in bringing reproductive health education and information into Latinx communities.
Planned Parenthood affiliates train and support local community leaders to become “promotores” — health educators who work to meet the diverse needs of Latinx communities across the country. Promotores de Salud is a program modeled on Mexican and Central American adult peer education programs, which bring bilingual reproductive health education and information into Latinx homes and community-gathering locations.
Promotores bring sexual and reproductive health information and resources into communities that need them, building trusted relationships and decreasing barriers to healthcare access. Promotores also provide critical linkages to health services, often helping community members navigate through the process of accessing health care and other needed services.
Promotores are community leaders who care about their communities, recognize barriers to health care, and are committed to helping their peers overcome health disparities and health system challenges.
Promotores work as community health educators, sharing medically accurate information and clarifying misconceptions about sexual behavior.
Promotores receive rigorous training and regular updates to educate their peers and family about reproductive health issues — such as sexuality, contraception and STD prevention, talking with children about sex and sexuality, accessing health services, and more.
Promotores are also known as Community Health Workers (CHW), peer health educators, lay health advisors, village health workers and some are certified.
- Promotores are often trained volunteers, contractors or staff who reach out to their peers and conduct health education activities, classes or pláticas at schools, community centers, partner organizations, or private homes.
respected and trusted community leaders
trained lay experts who provide health education within their communities
voices that raise awareness for available health and social services
connectors providing support and resource referrals to community members who face institutional and cultural barriers in accessing health care and social services
unofficial liaisons between marginalized communities and the official health care system
Sexuality is a subject that still has a lot of taboo; it’s seen as private. So, promotoras are key. We are trusted individuals in our community. We have the ability to present the information they need in a culturally sensitive way rather than in the medical way only.— Paula, promotora in South Texas
We go where the people are, we know the culture, speak the language, and we know the barriers because we also live in this community. It is culturally competent outreach. And I believe that is part of the Planned Parenthood mission: to strive toward health equity.— Laura, promotora in Los Angeles
“I think the larger impact of this work is in the collaborations we have with other organizations, like the Mexican Consulate, the rape crisis center, and the other coalitions we have formed locally. Promotoras programs connect with other organizations and develop these direct bridges for patients that other arms of our organizations really are not able to reach in the same way.”— Rosita, Promotoras Program Leader in Las Vegas
We are meeting people where they need to be met and connecting them with our services.— Maria, Promotoras Program Leader in Wisconsin