The success Juntos Podemos has in bringing health information to these communities is due largely in part to the use of Community Health Workers. Because CHWs are from the community they serve and speak the language, they know what outreach methods work best with their populations. They work in a variety of settings like schools, churches, and community centers. This allows them to identify families that need services quickly. It also assures the program is accessible to surrounding neighborhoods.
What sets CHWs apart, though, is their ability to build relationships with families in hard-to-reach communities. For example, in Juntos Podemos, CHWs work within the Colonias. The colonias are residential areas along the Texas-Mexico border that lack basic living necessities like sewer systems, electricity, paved roads, and safe housing. Regardless of the living standards, these predominately Hispanic communities are tight-knit, and thus, trust must be earned from outsiders. CHWs are trusted members of the community and use their trusted status to build long-lasting relationships. These relationships allow families to participate in activities and demonstrations around diet and exercise comfortably.
Empowering parents to pass on healthy habits to their children is perhaps the most promising outcome of Juntos Podemos. At the end of the program, parents reported that their children had also increased their amount of physical activity. This information shows how Juntos Podemos not only impacts the individuals served directly but how it works to create a pathway to healthy living for generations to come.
Learn more about the Community Health Worker Model and how we’re using it to address a wide variety of health and social topics.