LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District, released the following statement after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved her motion solidifying the role of promotoras de salud in County services:

“Promotoras de salud, our community health workers, continue to play a growing and vital role in our efforts to advance health equity and increase access to care. These are frontline health professionals who share life experience, trust, compassion, and cultural and value alignment with the communities they serve. Put simply, they are from community, for community. Promotoras are essential for communities that have traditionally lacked access to care, especially Latino communities in Los Angeles County. Long before the pandemic, structural barriers have existed that resulted in Latinos and other communities of color having disparate health outcomes. Language barriers, transportation issues, mistrust of the health system, and a lack of medical professionals sharing their background have resulted in patients receiving inferior care or forgoing it altogether. Promotoras have helped the County break down these barriers and improve access to care. And while I am proud that our Board has made health equity a priority by investing in this initiative, it is critical that we take another significant step to sustain this program to further reduce disparities experienced by our most vulnerable.”

The County’s three health departments (Health Services, Mental Health, and Public Health) all utilize promotoras to help advance health equity, address environmental justice issues, expand access to mental health, and serve vulnerable populations like our residents who are justice-involved and experiencing homelessness. In recognition of these models, the Board of Supervisors passed a motion in 2020 to expand the promotoras program to other communities, including those who primarily speak Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Mandarin, among other languages. And as the pandemic expanded the role of promotoras further to help encourage vaccination rates, the County passed a further motion to preserve this program and allocated $30 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act funding and $15 million thus far in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to sustain these programs. But despite these investments, there continues to be funding shortfalls hindering sustainable, long-term funding for these programs, as well as the provision of full employment and clear career pathways for those who have been long involved in these efforts.

The motion approved today directs the County’s Chief Executive Office and three health departments to coordinate efforts to draw down federal and state funding, and utilize any available American Rescue Plan funds, to support the long-term viability of a permanent program. Additionally, it instructs the County’s advocates in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. to push for more revenue to support and expand the promotoras initiative – and ensures that the federal CARES and ARPA dollars the County has allocated to these programs are being used to support the promotoras program. The motion also directs the County’s health departments to report back on other initiatives they can utilize promotoras for with long-term funding, such as connecting more residents to care and addressing chronic conditions like diabetes and STDs.

To view the full motion, click here.