Emergency preparedness training curriculum for Latino Promoters

The Montgomery County Advanced Practice Center (APC) in collaboration with the County's Latino Health Initiative (LHI), reached out to the county's growing Latino/Hispanic community by integrating emergency preparedness training into an existing program. The initiative aims to increase awareness and knowledge about emergency preparedness within the Latino/Hispanic community by conducting community education sessions led by lay health educators, or health promoters. The APC employs Spanish-speaking and culturally knowledgeable health promoters in its Vias de la Salud program. The county also developed a training curriculum for these health promoters that would enable them to deliver emergency preparedness information in a concise, thorough, and interactive format.

The practice includes a detailed report on the outreach initiative (i.e., the intervention, results, feasibility of replication, and estimated costs) and all of the necessary materials (i.e., training curriculum for promoters, Spanish educational materials, answers to emergency preparedness questions, and pre- and post-tests). The Training Manual for Promoters provides a wealth of easy-to-understand information on emergency preparedness in a pictorial, engaging format, so as not to overwhelm the promoter. Training activities include icebreakers, pre- and post-tests, personal and family preparedness exercises, and practice educational interventions. An appendix covers a wide array of basic questions that promoters may receive from their audiences and suggested simple answers.

The initiative is noteworthy, because the APC took many steps to increase the project's likelihood of success: They conducted a review of relevant literature, conducted a series of focus groups, developed culturally and linguistically appropriate materials, chose promoters who shared the characteristics of the population they were trying to reach, attempted to reduce known barriers, and conducted pilot outreach sessions and adapted the trainings accordingly.

This initiative's strength lies in its ability to be replicated within other Latino/Hispanic communities nationwide; it also has the potential to be adapted for other non/limited English-speaking communities as well. Local organizations will be able to use the successful research, methods, and provided materials to overcome outreach barriers, train local health workers, and ultimately increase levels of emergency preparedness within the Latino/Hispanic community.

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