Training Promotores as Navigators for Health Research

Adapting a Successful Health Promotion Model to Bridge the Gaps Between Researchers and Communities

A lack of knowledge about the historical and social context of the communities being studied robs researchers of valuable insights that should be integrated into their project design and results. And, being unfamiliar with the community increases the chance that research conducted with ethnic minorities may produce less benefit and have greater propensity to generate harm.

The BRITE Center is focused on bridging the gaps between researchers and the communities they work with through training and community partnerships. The center’s training programs for students and academic researchers that are planning to work with racial, ethnic and cultural minority communities focus on incorporating a community engagement and diversity lens in career preparation.

Yet new and innovative ways to help bridge the gap between academic research and diverse communities through formalized partnerships hold tremendous promise. The BRITE Center has formed strong, sustainable partnerships with community clinics and community-based organizations to conduct community-partnered health disparities research and to use findings to change systems that improve the health of disparities populations.

Two of those partners — the Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training developed by Cal State Long Beach and the National Council of La Raza — are partnering with the BRITE Center to develop a research certificate program for community health workers. The program would be based on the popular and effective promotores model that trains residents in communities to be highly trained grassroots health workers that educate their neighborhoods on disease prevention and health and well-being. These residents are recruited and hired from the communities where they live and their effectiveness hinges on the fact that they are trusted members of the community, they understand cultural barriers that the community faces and they are aware of the community’s health needs.

Applying this same model for academic research would better prepare and empower communities to be a part of the research process.

For more information on developments in this program, contact us.

Related links

Methods for Increasing Recruitment and Retention of Ethnic Minorities in Health Research Through Addressing Ethical Concerns (pdf)