Community Outreach via Education
The cancer health education outreach relies on the Por La Vida (PLV) intervention model, an award-winning, pioneer CHA program in which trained CHAs conduct small-group sessions with interactive activities to achieve the educational objectives. The PLV program was initiated prior to the Partnership, and was not initially an integral component. Over the course of the U56 the PLV CHA community network supported research projects (through the U56 Cancer and Minorities Research Resource, and aided by the close involvement of Dr. Navarro). This role progressed in the U54 to (a) serve as the basis of an emergent community partners network; (b) exemplify the focus of the U54 on community-academic partners reciprocal services (i.e., community cancer education was offered, support for research projects/programs was received); and (c) refine the intervention model in ways that support dissemination. These U54 sponsored activities prompted the development of a new concept (the PLV Today Series) that preserved core components of the PLV intervention model, while introducing flexibility to tailor cancer health education sessions. Building on these underpinnings, the proposed CHA organizational unit will tailor and test the impact of the Today Series to promote cancer prevention and control.
The Por La Vida (PLV) program began in 1987 as a pilot community cardiovascular risk reduction program targeting Latinas with initial support from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. At the time, there was a demonstrated lack of effective models for implementing health promotion among low-income medically undeserved communities. In collaboration with community members, PLV staff developed, and pilot-tested a neighborhood social network model to enhance health promotion in the Latino community.
Subsequent projects, with additional funding from private and public sources, have allowed for the refinement of the model, strategic planning, formal evaluation, and extension of some programs. The PLV currently operates as a partnership between UC San Diego and San Diego State University.
The PLV intervention model is characterized by:
-Identification of “natural helpers” women in the community
-Recruitment and training of community health advisors (consejeras)
-Recruitment of project participants from the naturally occurring social networks
-Small group educational sessions in community settings led by trained community health advisors
-Structured bilingual facilitator’s guide outlining content, materials, and objectives for each the sessions
-Diffusion through “learning partners” and/or community activities