Julie St. John, M.A., M.P.H., C.H.W.I.

Julie St. John, M.A., M.P.H., C.H.W.I.

Promotoras, trusted individuals among underserved Hispanic communities, possess a unique ability to serve as a cultural bridge between their community and outside researchers. Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health researchers emphasize the empowerment of promotora-researchers in community-based projects in a recent study.

“Empowerment of Promotoras as Promotora-Researchers in the Comidas Saludables & Gente Sana en las Colonias del Sur de Tejas (Healthy Food and Healthy People in South Texas Colonias) Program” is online in the Journal of Primary Prevention and will be in an upcoming issue.

“Promotora-researchers have the opportunity to not only provide outreach and education but also to be actively engaged in conducting research in their communities,” said Joseph Sharkey, Ph.D., M.P.H., RD, professor in the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health and founding director of the Program for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities. “We have identified that active engagement, acquisition and utilization of new skills and the valuing of input empowered promotora-researchers in all phases of the research study.”

Researchers concluded active participation of promotoras with researchers enabled them to fully participate in research projects while meeting the social and health needs within their communities.

Study lead author is Julie St. John, M.A., M.P.H., CHWI, South Texas regional director for the Center for Community Health Development. Additional TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health contributors include Sharkey; Cassandra M. Johnson, M.S.P.H.; Wesley R. Dean, Ph.D.; and Gabriela Arandia, M.S.P.H.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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