Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department
- Project Title: Salud y Vida Con Amigos
- Grant Period: July 2021 - June 2023
- Program Representatives Interviewed: Jamie Michael, Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Director, and Anabel Canchola, Program/Contract Administrator
- Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico
Program Overview: The Doña Ana
County Health and Human Services (HHS) Department was established in 2001 with the mission of
improving health and well-being in Doña Ana County, New Mexico. The department received funding from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health in 2001 through the Advancing Health
Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19 grant. The department uses grant funding to
support collaborative planning, development, and delivery of bilingual (Spanish/English) health literacy
education through the Salud y Vida Con Amigos project.
The Salud y Vida Con Amigos project aims to increase the availability, acceptability, and use of COVID-19 information and services in five rural, agricultural, and predominantly Mexican American communities in Doña Ana County. The team engages community members, community leaders, local government, extension agents, public school staff and leaders, and other health and public health professionals through focus groups, training, and technical assistance. These collaborators seek to identify health literacy challenges and create a sustained collaboration to address health literacy.
To support this project and build departmental capacity, Doña Ana County hires and trains promotoras de salud, or community health workers (CHWs), to engage residents in two-way communication to assure that health literacy education is driven by residents and responsive to their needs. The promotoras will work to establish strong community relationships and build trust among residents.
At the organizational level, Doña Ana County is working to build internal capacity by developing improved protocols, policies, and procedures for identifying and distributing health information to community members. The overall goal is to expand the health literacy plan developed for this project to encompass all of Doña Ana County and to serve as a model for other communities on the U.S.-Mexico border.