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'Planned Parenthood Promotoras' Provide Vital Health Care to the Latino Community

"Growing up, I served as interpreter for my mother and other women when seeking health care." These Promotoras help people access health services regardless of their income or immigration status.
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'Promotoras de Salud' Program Manager at Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada
2018-06-19T12:30:35-04:00
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Promotoras work within their communities to help increase awareness around sexual and reproductive health. Crédito: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

I’m a Promotora de Salud for Planned Parenthood and I have been for the last nine years. The Promotoras de Salud program is based on the Latin American model of reaching people by going directly into their communities and homes. We bring them health information to help overcome the many barriers Latinos face in accessing care.

Approximately 16 percent of Latinas in the U.S. have not visited a physician in the last two years and one-quarter of Latinas don’t have a regular health care provider. Despite the many strides the Affordable Care Act made for access to health care, particularly for Latinos, Latinas are still being left behind—one-fifth of Latinas still lack access to health insurance and many of our immigrant families are excluded from purchasing insurance on the ACA market.

Coming from a different country or having parents who did so, raises a lot of questions about how to access health care in this country. Will a doctor even see me without insurance? If so, how much it would cost? Will someone there speak my language? What if I can’t understand them? What are they are going to ask me? What if they ask about my immigration status?

All of these questions can become very real barriers that stand in the way of accessing care—especially for undocumented immigrants in the current political climate who face the fear of detention, deportation or discrimination. These barriers cause our community to suffer from health disparities: Latinos in the United States, for example, suffer disproportionately from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and cervical cancer.

That’s where Promotoras like me step in.

Promotoras are the heart and soul of Planned Parenthood’s outreach to the Latino community. Everyday, we work within our communities to help increase awareness around sexual and reproductive health and help people access reproductive health care services at Planned Parenthood regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. Planned Parenthood offers:


  • Annual checkups
  • Cancer screenings
  • Birth control options
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing and treatment
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines
  • Sex education
  • Family planning
  • Safe, legal abortions
  • And other reproductive or sexual health care needs

We open our doors to host “ platicas” or dialogues in our homes to teach women about reproductive and sexual health care. We also accompany them to their health care appointments, help them fill out forms, and at times serve as translators for them. As a result, we not only help increase their awareness of their bodies and rights, and increase their health outcomes, we also increase their self-esteem and leadership roles in educating others about sexual and reproductive health, including how to talk about sex and healthy relationships to their children, friends and family.

This work is particularly meaningful to me. Growing up, I served as interpreter for my mother and other women when seeking health care. I saw firsthand how they struggled to access and receive basic reproductive health care and other much needed medical services as they followed the farmworker migrant stream. Hearing their stories of desperation and the limited options they had was heartbreaking.

That’s why I have dedicated my life to being a Promotora for Planned Parenthood and help make it possible for Latinos in the community to access the vital care they need. See your doctor, get a check-up, or learn how to stay healthy by visiting www.plannedparenthood.org.


This article is published in collaboration with Univision Contigo: Univision's social responsibility team. Visit univision.com/contigo and find tips and resources that will help you have a healthier life. #MásSaludable

Note: We selected this Op-Ed to be published in our opinion section as a contribution to public debate. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of its author(s) and do not reflect the views or the editorial line of Univision News.


This article is published in collaboration with Univision Contigo: Univision's social responsibility team. Visit univision.com/contigo and find tips and resources that will help you have a healthier life. #MásSaludable


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