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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day Laborers Train to be Health Promoters

Day Laborers Take Health into their Own Hands

By Christina Zapata
On Tuesday June 16th, West County Health Centers Inc, awarded day laborers certificates for completing a ten -week training on how to be a health promoter.

Health promoters are part of an international phenomenon in which people with little access to medical services, often the poor and elderly, use trained community members as coaches in preventive health.

The group of 10 graduates, day laborers from Centro Laboral de Graton, are eager to get to work. Some workers plan to outreach to other day laborers in the area, such as Cazadero, Fulton, and Guerneville corners.

Carlos López, Health Outreach Worker for Centro Laboral de Graton said, “Workers asked me what the next step is for the newly trained promoters. ‘You tell me’ I responded.” Carlos envisions that the graduates will approach workers at other corners to see if they’re interested in starting soccer teams- “social team building activities such as sports are great ways to begin discussions on health,” López added. “Our intent is not to impose ourselves, we’ll see what direction workers at the corners want to take.”

The good news is that day laborers are ready to put their training into practice. That’s because all of the day laborers completing the training are immigrants. Immigrants are healthier upon arriving to the U.S. and the “immigrant health advantage” declines over time . Immigrants are at higher risk than the general population for diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Because of the conditions in which they live, they are also at risk for sexually transmitted infections, poor nutrition, and alcoholism. Health promoters are ready to take on, in a small way, the health issues impacting their peers.

In this period of economic insecurity, it’s urgent communities do what they can to avoid costly care. Prevention that is sensitive to the experiences of day laborers through health promotion is really a great way to address continued health and wellbeing.

The trainings were made possible by Centro Laboral de Graton’s partnership with West County Health Centers, Inc. (WCHC). WCHC and CLG promote health through education, access, and care.

Reference: Castañeda, X., Ross, R., Villalobos, J.; Migration, Health, & Work, Facts Behind the Myths, University of California, Berkeley, Secretary of Health of the Government of Mexico and The California Endowment Joint Policy Brief. (2008).

Article Provided by
Graton Day Labor Center

2981 Bowen St
Graton, CA 95444
(707) 829-1864

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