PROMOTORES DE SALUD ALLIANCE GRADUATES CLASS FOR DIABETES TRAINING AND OUTREACH

December 3, 2004

The University of North Texas Health Science Center will host a graduation ceremony Dec. 9, but these graduates will be a little different than the normal graduating class.

These graduates will be the first graduating class of Promotores de Salud Alliance, and they will work with Spanish-speaking people to help with diabetes prevention and education efforts in conjunction with the Diabetes Research, Education and Metabolic Studies project, or as itâ??s commonly known, DREAMS. These graduates will spend Dec. 6 through Dec. 9 in training before their graduation ceremony Dec. 9 at noon in the atrium of the health science center.

â??While this is the fourth group of graduates of the Salud para su Corazon of North Texas Promotores de Salud Alliance, itâ??s exciting every time,â? said Mary Luna Hollen, PhD, RD, LD, director of the Promotores de Salud Alliance. â??This new project, DREAMS, is once again utilizing the promotora community outreach train-the-trainer model that will allow us to train the promotoras, or lay health educators, about diabetes so that they can in turn educate Spanish-speaking populations in their own homes, churches, and centers.â?

Dr. Luna Hollen began the Promotores de Salud Alliance program through the health science centerâ??s School of Public Health in 2001.

The Promotores de Salud Alliance is a community outreach model. Promotoras are trained volunteers who provide health education to local Latinos in homes, churches, and community centers throughout Fort Worth and Dallas after learning how to teach others within their community ways to prevent and control disease.

When graduates leave the health science center, their work will just be beginning, as they start the arduous task of setting up demonstrations, answering questions and getting people to change a lifetime of bad habits. The goal of the program is to change lives, reduce the risk of diabetes, and help those people who do have diabetes learn to manage it better, which begins with the outreach effort that follows graduation.

Currently, about 18 million Americans are believed to have diabetes, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The disease has no cure, but can be managed with proper diet and exercise. However, diabetes can be prevented.

According to Dr. Luna Hollen, the focus of this project will be obese Hispanic children at risk for Type II diabetes and their families.

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Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

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