A History of Service
Since its inception in 1983, MHP Salud has developed and established Community Health Worker (CHW)/Promotor(a) de Salud programs in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Washington to improve the health status of Latinos by increasing their access to primary and preventative care. In addition to its direct service programs, MHP Salud has been a champion for the CHW model nationally as a culturally appropriate strategy to improve health. Our agency provides training and consulting services to benefit organizations that use the CHW model and offers free resources for CHW professionals.
MHP Salud currently works within the most vulnerable areas by implementing CHW programs to support Latino communities. These communities are often rural, primarily Spanish-speaking, and are burdened by existing health disparities and/or environmental barriers. In 2017, nearly all the participants in MHP Salud’s direct service programs were Hispanic. About two-thirds of participants reported an annual household income between $0-24,999 and over half were uninsured at time of program enrollment.
What Makes a Community Underserved?
An underserved community is one that has minimal access to resources. This can be influenced by the following factors that restrict or prevent access:
- Economic status
- Sexual Orientation
- Ability Status
- Geographic Location
Underserved communities also often face barriers to receiving healthcare and other essential services. As a result, they often experience higher rates of illness and disease, commonly referred to as health disparities. These barriers can include (but are not limited to):
How Can Community Health Workers Help?
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are uniquely qualified to address the needs of underserved Latino communities. Community Health Workers reach community members “where they are”, meaning that they are able to relate to community members by speaking the same language, sharing a common culture, and actively go out into the community to identify individuals in need of services. These qualities allow CHWs to build strong relationships with community members and empower them to identify and fulfill their individual needs. There is a wealth of evidence that CHWs can improve health concerns like asthma, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, immunizations, maternal and child health and HIV/AIDs. Not only are CHW programs effective, but they are a low-cost way to improve the health of patients and communities. MHP Salud regularly conducts return on investment (ROI) analyses to determine the financial benefits of its programs. Cada Paso del Camino, a cancer screening and education program, demonstrated a ROI of $3.09 for every $1 spent. Another program, Salud y Vida, a diabetes management program, had a ROI of $1.09 for every $1 spent. Read more about return on investment for CHW programs here.
How We’ve Used the CHW Model to Empower Underserved Communities:
U.S. Latinos have the highest number of uninsured individuals. To address this need, MHP Salud works in 4 counties within the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to help uninsured and under-insured individuals to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) and assist with other health insurance related inquiries such as locating a healthcare provider or paying a medical bill. While Navigator services are available for anyone to use, MHP Salud has a focus on underserved older individuals who speak Spanish in the home.
In 2017, MHP Salud served 1,459 participants and 73% were successfully enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan.
1 in 3 Latina women will experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in her lifetime. People who live in rural locations are also more likely to experience IPV. MHP Salud implements a support group for survivors of IPV in Lucas, Henry, Putnam, and Sandusky Counties in Ohio. The program is led by Community Health Workers and uses art-based therapy and journaling to promote empowerment and healing.
In 2017, referrals were made for 44 survivors for advocacy, food assistance, medical services, and childcare. Support group participants demonstrated a statistically significant increase in knowledge following program completion.
U.S. Latinos are more likely to experience food insecurity, which results in a diet poor in fruits and vegetables. To address this need, Community Health Workers employed by MHP Salud work in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to educate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligible families about healthy eating habits and physical activity.
In 2017, 426 adults enrolled in Juntos Podemos; some participants’ children also participated. By the end of 2017, participants who completed the program demonstrated an increased level of knowledge and significantly increased their levels of fruit/vegetable consumption and physical activity.
MHP Salud also promotes the CHW model as an effective means of delivering culturally appropriate healthcare. Here are some ways the agency advances the utilization of the CHW model:
MHP Salud provides trainings opportunities to organizations committed to investing in the Community Health Worker (CHW) model. In turn, this contributes to a growing knowledge base in how to design, implement, and evaluate CHW programs that are impactful, cost-effective and empowering. The L.E.A.D. (Listen, Empower, Advance, Deliver) curriculum provides organizations the opportunity to learn more about how to effectively utilize the Community Health Worker model for their population. Training opportunities are offered both in-person and virtually and are available at an affordable price. MHP Salud offers sessions that are tailored for Community Health Workers, CHW Supervisors, professionals working with CHWs and Grant Writers seeking funding for CHW programs.
Our consulting services provide organizations with one-on-one support every step of the way. MHP Salud offers expertise in designing and implementing cost-effective CHW programs and ensures that participating organizations achieve a high level of success in producing a comprehensive CHW program. Consulting services are offered in various hourly and outcomes-based packages and an expert is matched based on the needs of the organization. MHP Salud focus on support that is collaborative, tailored to each organization and supports long-term success.
MHP Salud has developed free resources to address health issues in underserved populations using the Community Health Worker (CHW)/Promotor(a) model. These resources are easy-to-use, culturally appropriate, and a great source of information for organizations or individuals that want to use the CHW model to support an isolated or underserved population.