Workshop Turns Janitors into Latino Health Advocates


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Promotores de salud are trained community members who promote everything from proper sleep to reducing child abuse among Latinos.

Did you know even janitors can be promotores de salud?

In fact, the nonprofit Building Skills Partnership and the U.S. Office of Minority Health conducted a workshop in June 2018 to help organizations secure health grants and train low-income male custodians to promote early detection of HIV and Hepatitis C to their Latino friends and family.

The project had two phases:

  • A three-day grant-writing workshop for organizations like Para Los Niños, the National Health Foundation, Esperanza Community Housing, The California Hispanic Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, El Centro de Ayuda, the Arthritis Foundation, and the Los Angeles Alliance for Health and Aging.
  • A one-day training to help community service workers—including low-wage, immigrant janitors—to spread educational messages about the importance of healthcare for HIV and Hepatitis C.

“The goal is to train the workers to become promotores or advocates in their communities, as they not only speak the language, but understand the culture and unique health needs of their communities,” said Julissa Sanchez, a communications specialist at Building Skills Partnership. The group delivers culturally relevant information and preventative health programming.

The program met the workers at the locations of their jobs. They were trained on the on basics of HIV and Hepatitis. They were given tools to be able to educate others on the information that they have learned. This is a peer-to-peer model of health education.

In all, 25 janitors learned to spread the word about early detection for HIV and Hepatitis.

Studies show that Latinos are affected by HIV at higher levels than other demographics.

Why are promotores de salud so important? Because most Latinos (70%) say family, friends, churches, or community groups are their main sources of health information, according to Salud America! research.

Promotores are at the heart of a peer to peer approach to health education, as they teach their fellow janitors and other workers what they have learned,” said Aida Cardenas of Building Skills Partnership.

Check out other promotores efforts here:

Learn more about the issues impacting Latino health here!


By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latinos remain without health insurance coverage

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