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Joan Branin reviews health care project

Professor of Health Service Management Joan Branin spoke Monday in the President’s Dining Room. Her lecture, “Evaluation of a Promotora Educational Training Program to Promote Disability Knowledge,” about a program for Hispanic immigrants, was part of the faculty lecture series. Branin developed a training program to help parents who lack information about disabilities in their children and family members. Branin also serves as the director of the University’s Center for Health and Aging. / photo by Candice Salazar

Karlie Bettencourt
Associate Arts Editor

Joan Branin, professor of health services management, reviewed a project that trains people to promote disabilities awareness among Hispanic communities in Los Angeles, on Monday.

“When Hispanic immigrants come they don’t know how health service works here,” Branin said.

“They have fear and distrust of the American health care system and the ‘promotoras’ show how the health care system works.”

The ultimate goal was to create a replicable program that would improve access to health programs and increase knowledge of disabilities.

“It’s empowering,” Maria Jimenez, junior liberal studies major, said. “The idea of helping people makes you want to go out there and do it.”

The “promotoras,” the program’s name for its promoters, achieved this by acting as a liaison between the their communities and multiple health services.

“I’ve never done a project where the primary language was Spanish,” Branin said.

The entire program was created in English and then translated to Spanish.

The promotoras are bilingual so that there is no language barrier.

This allows them to reach out to their communities on a personal level and allow them to understand all of the information they are presenting.

After presenting the program design to L.A. Care, a community-accountable health plan that offers low-cost or free health insurance programs to Los Angeles County residents, they were granted funding.

“We had to show we had the abilities to go out and survey,” Branin said.

Surveys were given to the promotoras throughout training so that they could measure how successful the training sessions were in teaching them the information they needed to know.

They took a survey before the training began to see how confident they were with their knowledge of disabilities and what they knew.

After the session they were then given another survey to see how their levels of confidence and knowledge changed.

Surveys showed that by the end of the project the promotoras were confident in the information they were giving to families.

The promotoras held community forums to discuss the stereotypes of disabilities, how to identify disabilities and what to do if you think you or another family member might have a disability.

Surveys were given to the community members that came to the program and asked questions on how the seminars could be improved and also what the strong and weak points of the seminars were.

The surveys found that those who attended learned a lot about the health care system and how to go about getting help when they have questions.

The surveys also found that 20 percent of the people who came to the seminars already had basic knowledge about disabilities.

Clients also revealed through the surveys that lack of health care was the main reason why most people do not have regular medical examinations.

Throughout the year-and-a-half project, the promotoras conducted 35 community forums and spoke with 1,032 people throughout the Los Angeles area.

“The seminar gave good information and really explained everything about the program,” Brooke Hanson, junior art major, said.

Karlie Bettencourt can be reached at

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