Serving Hispanic Communities Through Local Parishes During COVID-19

Serving Hispanic Communities Through Local Parishes During COVID-19

Promotores de Salud is a successful collaboration between Providence Oregon and Catholic parishes in Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties. Promotores are volunteers who have completed training as community health workers using curriculum approved by the Oregon Health Authority.

By combining the skills of culturally competent health care workers with telehealth technology, Promotores de Salud has improved health for thousands of local, uninsured Spanish-speaking people. The program is an important source of care, offering free, bilingual health screenings and consultations in parish churches.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Providence and Promotores de Salud paused most in-person activities and swiftly adopted virtual activities, such as weekly meetings, townhalls and Facebook Live events.

  • The promotores hosted evening meetings every week. These online gatherings enabled them to maintain relationships with people in their communities, hear first-hand how the pandemic was affecting community members and their families, connect vulnerable people to community resources, and share COVID-19-related information and public health protocols. A total of 640 community members participated in these meetings.
  • The promotores organized six townhall meetings in partnership with Providence Express Care. Health care providers answered COVID-19-related questions for more than 1,800 people who attended the meetings.
  • The Latinx Emotional Health program – a partnership between Pacific University and Providence Community Health – launched a series of educational events on Facebook Live. The program addressed various behavioral health topics, such as emotional well-being, stress and developing healthy relationships during a pandemic. More than 15,000 people in four counties viewed the events.

By partnering with Catholic parishes and promotores, Providence Oregon found new ways to strengthen the sense of community and trust between health care providers and vulnerable members of the Hispanic community during a time of isolation.