The Philanthropy Collaborative

Regional Case Studies

NCLR's Institute for Hispanic Health

When the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)-the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States-began working with its network of community-based organizations to implement promotores de salud (lay health educators) health interventions, no one could have predicted the impact these individuals would have on the health of their communities.

Take Esperanza. Esperanza began participating in El Club de la Salud (the Health Club), a promotores-led physical activity and health education program at the Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy (CHisPA) in Providence, RI. As a member of El Club, Esperanza received a comprehensive health screening including measurements of her blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, Body Mass Index, waist circumference, and weight. Overweight and with a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg, Esperanza learned she was headed for trouble and was encouraged to see a health provider.

Today, after one year of attending a cardiovascular disease awareness and prevention program and participating in physical activity classes held by CHisPA's promotores, Esperanza's hard work has paid off. Her blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels are all down, and she has lost ten pounds.

Esperanza is just one of thousands of community members benefitting from the culturally competent and linguistically appropriate programs supported by NCLR's Institute for Hispanic Health (IHH). IHH has developed science-based, bilingual curricula and educational materials on a number of diseases for use by its Affiliates. Over the past ten years, NCLR and its Affiliates have trained more than 200 lay health educators who have reached an estimated 10,000 individuals with prevention messages.

This work would not be possible without NCLR's community-based partner organizations, such as CHisPA. Many of our Affiliates are the only bilingual, Latino-serving, community-based, nonprofit organizations in their areas. Many are longstanding community institutions. All of them bring the work of NCLR to life by testing interventions for cultural and linguistic appropriateness and serving as NCLR's eyes and ears on the ground. They ensure that all of NCLR's programs in health, education, housing, and workforce development are effective, and they keep NCLR abreast of new developments at the community level to incorporate into future programs. The unique partnership between NCLR and its Affiliates ensures that programs move beyond the theoretical stage and into the communities where they are needed.

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