A program empowers bilingual Hispanic community influencers to help vulnerable families in America.
The Patient Navigator Research Program brings together healthcare workers to assist Hispanic families in dealing with various health issues, but focuses extensively on cancer patients. It is being funded by the National Cancer Institute and LIVESTRONG, Lance Armstrong’s Foundation. According to Hispanic Trending:
Bilingual, bicultural patient navigators are stationed at cancer centers in a handful of U.S. cities with large Latino populations. They’re helping Hispanics with cancer fill out important medical forms, make doctor’s appointments and arrange transportation for treatment.
Interestingly, these workers are not professionals. The Latino Leadership Council frames these individuals as trusted, well-connected community members and pins their creation on the fact that
there is a lot of mistrust between the Latino community and health care and social service providers. Many times this stems from negative past experiences, a sense of discrimination or even concern over documentation status.
Promotoras (or Patient Navigators) help bridge the gap between organizations and agencies and the communities they service.
As the video shows, Promotoras are a unique form of influencers in the Hispanic community, seen as experts without the rigid formality that everyone encounters in the healthcare system. This is a great initiative that can be conceivably useful for other underprivileged, non-English minorities in America.