Adequate diagnosis and early treatment improve health outcomes for many conditions. This is true for lupus, an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and affects the skin, joints, and multiple organ systems in the body.
Latinas are more adversely affected by lupus and have significantly greater organ complications. Unfortunately, socio-economic factors can create barriers to healthcare, leaving low-income Latinas at a greater risk of increased disease severity. General awareness of lupus signs and symptoms in this population is also low, which can increase time to diagnosis and treatment.
A bridge between formal systems of health care and communities in need is essential to protecting the health of vulnerable populations.
KDHRC created a culturally tailored, online training program for promotores de salud, lay health workers who work in Spanish-speaking communities. Latinas con Lupus, Promotores con Información (LLPI) provides promotores with the knowledge and skills to conduct outreach to Latinas with diagnosed or suspected lupus.
The course is built on an audience-centric approach.
- An advisory panel of rheumatologists assisted us with course content on lupus signs and symptoms.
- An expert committee of master promotores trainers helped us develop the learning objectives, activities, module sequencing, and assessment materials.
- Workgroups of promotores from different areas of the country provided user insights, helping us fine tune the materials before roll out.
- Cultural competency teams helped us ensure the Spanish language version of LLPI went beyond translation for a true adaptation of the learning experience.
- All course content was scientifically validated by top experts in the lupus field before finalization.
The LLPI course integrates instructional design principles to make the information accessible and actionable for promotores. A unique aspect of LLPI is the “virtual client” — an interactive learning device that uses video-assisted branching scenarios to allow promotores to practice key skills in a supportive, instructive online environment.
To evaluate LLPI, we conducted an online study with promotores across the United States. Extensive networking through community-based organizations, professional associations, FHQCs, and other Latino-serving nonprofits allowed us to identify and recruit nearly 300 promorotes into our evaluation. Promotores walked away from LLPI training with greater knowledge of lupus, more positive attitudes, and greater self-efficacy and intentions related to conducting outreach in their communities.
Creating these training materials for lay health workers is an important step to putting protective health information in the hands of women most at risk.