Sacred Valley Health: A Global Organization with a Local Impact

Monday, 9 November 2015: 1:45 PM

Keri Lynn Baker, BSN, MSc, RN1
Lynne M Massaro, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, FNP2
Maria C. LaFaro, DNP, RN, ANP-BC2
(1)Sacred Valley Health, Minneapolis, MN, USA
(2)School of Nursing, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA

Sacred Valley Health (SVH) is a US 501 c3 nonprofit organization working in Ollantaytambo, Peru. The mission of SVH is to promote health in the underserved, rural communities of Peru’s Sacred Valley through increased access, education, and community empowerment. The primary focus of the organization is to train promotoras de salud (community health workers).  The promotoras serve as healthcare providers and educators in their communities. Evidence demonstrates community health workers increase access to health and improve health outcomes (Lewin et al., 2006).  SVH trained promotoras have: (1) facilitated access to care for more than 2,200 community members, (2) provided treatment to 627 individuals, and (3) presented more than 70 health education sessions. With an emphasis on sustainability, SVH launched the Docente program (Train the trainer) in 2014.  Promotoras attended a three-week program based in adult learning theory and the Transtheoretical Model, Stages of Change (Prochaska et al., 2002), providing leadership education and teaching techniques. Five female promotoras were selected to become Docentes, who will train the next generation of promotoras. It is anticipated that this will continue to increase access to health services, improve health outcomes, and contribute to the empowerment and economic well being of the families and communities.

 The work of SVH is not limited to Peru’s Sacred Valley, as the organization has collaborated with nursing, medical, and public health programs in the US in order to provide students with service opportunities. Research has demonstrated global health experiences have a lasting positive impact on students (Smith & Curry, 2011) and are enhanced when partnered with sustainable organizations. (Powell, Gilliss, Hewitt, & Flint, 2010). More than 17 trips have been facilitated in the past three years; students and faculty have strengthened the impact of SVH. In 2014, health campaigns provided education regarding personal and oral hygiene, sexual and reproductive health, and nutrition to 579 children and 312 adults. In addition, these immersion experiences have exposed and shaped the careers of future American health professionals. Student’s qualitative evaluation feedback themes that have emerged include: (1) an appreciation of the global perspective of health care, (2) improved understanding of preventative services and education (3) enhanced cultural knowledge and competence, and (4) a desire for continued service opportunities.

 In 2014, University of Rochester’s Sigma Theta Tau chapter partnered with SVH to provide donations of toothpaste and toothbrushes. These donations were provided to schools in the promotoras’ communities in conjunction with health campaigns. This partnership between SVH and this particular Sigma Theta Tau chapter has immense possibility to grow and continue to foster interdisciplinary collaboration, global experience, individual professional development, and minimize attrition of chapter members.