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Your Environment. Your Health.

UA Develops Environmental Training Modules for Promotoras

Superfund Research Program

Photo of a group of people

Denise Moreno Ramirez, Community Engagement Coordinator (left), and other UA SRP personnel with SERI promotoras and Susan Marks, Wellness Programs Manager, El Rio Community Health Center (second from right) in Tucson, Ariz.
(Photo courtesy of UA SRP)

Latina community health workers in Arizona, known as promotoras, are translating environmental health issues in their communities. This educational program is supported by the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) Community Engagement Core (CEC) and the Dean Carter Binational Center for Environmental Health Sciences. UA SRP grantees worked with community members in Arizona to explain environmental health issues and build the capacity of the promotoras so that they could share the knowledge with their community.

UA SRP personnel developed Training Modules with the help of scientific experts and promotoras from Arizona and Mexico. The modules focused on four themes of interest to affected communities: pesticides, arsenic, environmental toxicology, and fate and transport of contaminants. UA SRP professors and graduate trainees presented pilot modules to promotoras at 11 workshops around Arizona. A total of 58 promotoras from Tucson, Somerton, and Nogales, Arizona received training at the workshops and provided feedback with surveys. Through the pilot modules, UA SRP personnel were able to evaluate how understandable and flexible the module content was for professors, students, and promotoras to teach.

Next, in July 2012, promotoras previously taught by UA SRP personnel were able to share what they learned with other community health workers. For example, a pilot community workshop, held in Nogales, Arizona, was taught completely by promotoras from the Sonoran Environmental Research Institute, Inc. Promotoras from the Mariposa Community Health Center and teachers from the Instituto Tecnologico de Nogales attended. UA SRP core leaders, A. Jay Gandolfi, Ph.D., Jim Field, Ph.D., and Denise Moreno Ramirez, as well as several graduate trainees, provided training support.

Based on feedback regarding the quality and clarity of the science trainings, UA SRP grantees are finalizing the module product to be available in electronic and hard copy. With the distribution of the final product, UA SRP personnel will hold additional workshops to teach other promotoras to train members of their community. Through the development of a sustainable train-the-trainer model, UA SRP has enriched its relationship with Arizona communities while engaging community members and improving environmental health literacy.

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