PPMW Promotoras program awarded Montgomery Co. Underserved Communities Projects (UCP) grant to advance health outreach

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC (PPMW) recently received an Underserved Communities Projects grant from Montgomery County, Maryland, to grow the PPMW Promotoras de Salud community health outreach program. The Promotoras de Salud program is one of 11 awardees selected through a highly competitive process, out of 132 applicants.

PPMW’s Promotoras de Salud are Spanish-speaking peer educators who teach their communities about sexual and reproductive health and rights and work to destigmatize these complex topics. Prior to connecting with community members, they receive training through PPMW’s health education staff. The curriculum, developed by Bilingual Program Manager Karen Gomez Morales, focuses on building a sense of trust and openness between Promotoras and their community members. It prepares Promotoras to facilitate meaningful discussions on challenging, often sensitive topics related to sexual health.

“Now, thanks to the UCP grant, the PPMW team will take the program to the next level by converting it into a state-accredited Community Health Worker program, which upon completion makes the Promotoras eligible for certification through Maryland State,” explains Andrea Augustine, Assistant Vice President of Education and Community Engagement at PPMW.

By creating a new opportunity to access this formal certification, PPMW hopes to strengthen the public health workforce of the DC metropolitan region and increase Latinx representation in the area of community health. “Community health workers can make an important difference in addressing unmet needs related to social determinants of health, which can drive health disparities in Latinx communities,” Augustine notes. At the same time, PPMW’s Promotoras will access the necessary skills and credentials to pursue careers in this field.

In year one of the grant, the PPMW education team will use the UCP funding to enhance the existing Promotoras program, ensuring its alignment with the accreditation standards for Maryland’s Community Health Worker Certification Training Program and completing the accreditation process.

In year two, once accreditation has been secured, PPMW will pilot (and continue to refine) the enhanced Promotoras program and will work to connect graduates with employment opportunities. This will prepare PPMW’s Promotoras de Salud program for an official launch as an accredited Community Health Worker Certification Training Program in year three, and will enable PPMW’s Promotoras to turn their passion for peer education into careers in community health, having an even greater impact.

“Promotoras de Salud are essential for the overall health of communities because they directly connect people to the services they need,” says Gomez Morales. “This grant will allow us to recognize the valuable work PPMW’s Promotoras de Salud do in connecting people to reproductive services and comprehensive sex education by supporting their professional journeys as educators.”

About PPMW
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC (PPMW) provides high-quality, affordable health care, including sexual and reproductive health care; promotes education programs that empower all individuals to make informed health decisions; and advocates for reproductive rights and health equity for all. PPMW is the oldest and largest provider of family planning services in Metropolitan Washington, serving Washington, DC; Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland; and Northern Virginia.

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SOURCE Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

PPMW Promotoras program awarded Montgomery Co. Underserved Communities Projects (UCP) grant to advance health outreach WeeklyReviewer

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