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11th Annual Vision y Compromiso Conference in Los Angeles

by Yamila El-Khayat, Outreach Services Librarian
Arizona Health Sciences Library
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

Kay Deeney, NN/LM PSR Educational Services Coordinator, and I had the pleasure of attending, exhibiting and presenting at the 11th Annual Promotores and Community Health Workers Conference, Cultivating Our Strengths Towards a Dignified and Healthy Life, December 6-7, 2013, in Los Angeles. The meeting is sponsored every year by a non-profit organization, Vision y Compromiso.

Picture of Vision and Compromiso Conference Banner

This organization had its beginning in 2000 when more than 140 promotores from the state of California were invited to listen to a discussion facilitated by community health worker leaders who addressed a study that was done about the needs of communities in the state. This was just the beginning of the Promotoras and Community Workers Network, which then became what we know of today as Vision y Compromiso. Their main goal is to advance the work of promotores along with strengthening their work with tools and data. One way is through this conference, which is held annually, and attracts promotores and community health workers from different parts of the Unites States such as Washington and Maryland. This conference was a wonderful event that gave inspiration to the work we do in trying to increase healthier communities across the United States.

This year’s conference focused on the importance of culture and traditional practices that are followed by families in order to stay healthy. It gave everyone the opportunity to reflect on history, tradition, family, the future, and how we can continue these in healthy manners. This year’s theme was “Cultivating Our Strengths Towards a Dignified and Healthy Life.” The conference opened with keynote speaker, Hector Sanchez-Flores, a member of the National Compadres Network. He talked about the importance of culture, traditions, and how his group has come together to reinforce the positive involvement of Latino males with their family, community and society as a whole. The talk was followed by several workshops all focused on different topics ranging from descriptions of programs as models for promotores, specific health topics, community work and efforts, and several sessions about Obamacare.

One of the workshops centered on the Affordable Care Act and the insurance issues, particularly Covered California. The presentation group showed many possible scenarios and attendees had many questions. Another workshop focused on how to change behaviors from smoking to weight loss. We were very impressed with how promotores see themselves as problem solvers with one group tackling transportation issues in Arizona and another child safety issues. Our workshop was Reliable Health Information on the Internet (Como buscar sitios con información confiable sobre la salud!); led by Yamila El-Khayat. This workshop integrated Latino popular music and key scenarios relevant to Latinos for participants to act and discuss, ending with a talk about the importance of health information and where to find it. The main topic of the talk was MedlinePlus. The entire two-hour workshop was conducted in Spanish.

During lunch we enjoyed hearing from Nely Galan, from The Adelante Movement, and Jose A. Gonzalez, from HealthNet of California, who focused their talks on the important roles that the minority populations are playing in the Unites States. The day ended with a plenary session led by Teresa Niño, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Arturo Carmona from Presente.org, and Hilda Solis, Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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