Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest has been promoting comprehensive reproductive health education among immigrant communities in Riverside County and Imperial Valley with the help of Promotor@s for more than 20 years, with tremendous results.
In this model, Promotor@s are members of the community they serve and share many social, cultural, and economic characteristics. As trusted members of their communities, they are often the bridge between a diverse population and our health care system.
“A lot of the migrant people out here don’t know about Planned Parenthood. However, I am finding that more people are learning about us and the services we provide because of the outreach work we’re doing daily,” said Patricia, a Promotor@ in Riverside County.
The program reaches 100,000 people annually who would otherwise have limited to no access to reproductive health education or clinical services.
For years, Spanish-speaking staff like Patricia have been extensively trained to become reproductive health advocates in their communities.
They brave the blazing heat of summer to build grassroots relationships in areas where people gather, including bus stops, food banks, beauty salons, and farm fields.
Patricia and 24 other Promotor@s at our affiliate educate them about health issues affecting their communities and help people access local resources.
Promotor@s introduce people to the services Planned Parenthood offers and give presentations to adults on reproductive anatomy, birth control, sexually transmitted infections and reproductive cancers.
“We have one of the most sophisticated Promotor@s programs in our region. In fact, other organizations are reaching out to us for recommendations,” said Elizabeth Romero, director of community & government relations in Riverside County.
On a recent hot Monday afternoon, Patricia visited a park in Perris, a low-income city in west Riverside County, with her daughter Margarita, who is training to become a Promotor@ as well.
She pulls a cart filled with three-ring binders containing her presentations, as well as a birth control kit. Her sunny demeanor is undeniably contagious, and when she approaches a group of construction workers they immediately take her up on a presentation.
“I really try to make a connection with people because that’s how you make an impact in their lives,” Patricia said.