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Perceptions of Community Health Workers Among Latino Men in North Carolina

Laura Villa-Torres, Paul J. Fleming, Clare Barrington
2015 February
Journal of Community Health 40(1): 167-174

Abstract

The promotor de salud, or community health worker (CHW) role, is highly feminized and little is known about how men view their participation in CHW programs. We conducted in-depth interviews with Latino men in North Carolina to explore this gap. We used systematic coding and display procedures informed by Grounded Theory to analyze the data. Men described their communities as lacking cohesion, making integration of Latino immigrants difficult. Most did not consider themselves leaders or feel they had leaders in their communities. Their perceptions of the feminized CHW role as well as the volunteer or low-paid nature of CHW work conflicted with men's provider role. They also did not think they could perform the CHW role because they lacked education, skills, and broad networks. Efforts to increase male participation in CHW programs in new Latino immigrant destinations will need to understand and address these gender and migration-related dynamics in order to engage both women and men in improving the health of their communities.