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Emergency Preparedness Education for the Latino Community Conducted by Health Promoters: A Mini Pilot Project

Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services

April 1, 2008

Studies have found that Latinos and other minority communities are less likely to feel prepared for an emergency and to have an emergency plan than the public in general. The Latino Health Initiative and its health promoter program Vías de la Salud and the Advanced Practice Center for Public Health Emergency Preparedness of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, developed, implemented, and assessed a culturally and linguistically appropriate intervention to increase awareness, knowledge, and practices regarding emergency preparedness among the low-income Latino community. Following a literature review and eight focus group discussions, experienced Vías health promoters were trained, using a curriculum based on the findings of the formative research and highlighting the key messages and materials of the Advanced Practice Center. Over a two-month period, teams of three Vías promoters conducted two pilot interventions at two collaborating community agencies that serve Latinos. At each site, the promoters held three educational sessions addressing “what is an emergency” and the three steps of emergency preparedness (initiate a conversation about emergencies; develop a family emergency plan; and prepare an emergency supply kit of nine essential items). Pre- and post-tests assessed the effects of the intervention on participants’ attitudes and practices and on the effectiveness of the promoter training. These data were complemented by participants’ comments on the sessions and promoters’ written reports and observations made during project meetings.


MCMDHHS Pilot Study