A project that began less than three weeks ago in Charlotte, NC is already making a major impact. The newly launched “Health Ambassadors” program is designed specifically to reach the Latinx community. Almost half of the Latinx population over the age of twenty has been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and 47% of males as well as 40% females over the age of twenty have high blood pressure.
So far, there are 28 ambassadors that are being trained through programming provided through two partners: Camino Community Center and Harris YMCA. These weekly trainings last one hour and feature various topics including benefits of exercise and physical activity by certified trainer, blood pressure monitoring and self-management, Hands-Only CPR instruction, and healthy eating programming and cooking demonstrations led by a nutritionist. Once the ambassadors are trained, they are encouraged to educate others in their community with tools such as Move More physical activity kits, AHA recipes and measuring cups, and blood pressure monitors and plenty of culturally competent resources in Spanish and English. The goal of the Health Ambassadors program is to have each trained volunteer conduct five community meetings with at least five people in attendance. If each of the 28 ambassadors who have been trained so far reached their goal, that would result in educating at least 700 people.
Participants will begin by taking a pre-evaluation to measure their prior knowledge on what will be covered in the course. They will also complete a survey immediately after the course and then again 30 days later to test retention. After the training, the ambassadors will keep a log of everyone they have trained and will attend a meeting to reflect on how the community meeting went, difficulties in executing trainings, and the best practices that were developed.
This program is a huge stride toward making an impact in overall health outcomes for a community that is at a higher risk for stroke and heart disease. “The Health Ambassador program works with the Latinx community to empower community members to take control of their health as well as educate others in their community on high blood pressure, CPR, and nutrition so they can live healthier lives,” says Hector Salgado, Director of Community Impact in Charlotte.
It has surpassed expectations in less than a month and will be expanded to additional markets throughout North Carolina. Eventually, the program will target other groups such as the African American community. For now, the goal is to perpetuate healthy lifestyle choices within the Hispanic community!
Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. For nearly 100 years, we’ve been fighting heart disease and stroke, striving to save and improve lives. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally. Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. We want to see a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.