At the heart of every clinic are its patients. They come in with aches and pains, with a desire to be healed, and at times to find a sense of purpose. When patients enter the doors of Clinica Mons. Oscar A. Romero, each patient not only has access to quality care, but also an opportunity to lead and make a difference in their lives.
At Clinica Romero, there are two pathways to becoming a leader and fulfilling the mission of serving others.
Our first pathway: Mi Vida Mi Salud, is a patient leadership committee that educates, organizes, and empowers patients to learn about the importance of holistic well-being. Through participation in the committee, patients engage in understanding the intricacies of healthcare access, learn to engage in advocacy efforts to expand My Health LA and Medi-Cal, and assess their neighborhood for harmful impacts on its health. Mi Vida Mi Salud began at our Boyle Heights clinic in an effort to engage patients in the Building Healthy Communities Collaborative, an initiative of the California Endowment. Building on this work, we expanded the same concept to our Pico Union site where the results have been incredible. In 2015, our committees have grown from 14 to 25 engaged patients in Boyle Heights, and a new committee in the Pico Union neighborhood is already at 23 patients. All echoing the need for improved health access and becoming a voice of the voiceless.
Our second path is that of Promotoras. Through a partnership with USC Good Neighbors and the USC Office of Civic Engagement, promotoras are trained to provide health education on health issues and campaigns that affect their families and communities. In addition, they are taught to engage the community at large in conversation on effective ways of improving health outcomes at the individual, family, and neighborhood level. From diabetes, to heart disease, to cancer, our promotoras have engaged in attempting to educate the community on a plethora of health issues affecting their neighborhoods. In addition, our promotoras have learned outreach and relationship building skills that have allowed them to expand their skill sets and become proactive leaders. Clinica Romero’s promotora program has grown from 14 to 27 individuals in the span of 10 months.
The work isn’t easy, but it is immensely satisfying. There are challenges that meet our daily tenacity to educate communities at large toward health access and prevention. It takes a village, and Clinica Romero is building a solid foundation through patient engagement.