Transferable Training Modules Background
Environmental consequences from population growth, poor infrastructure, increased industrialization, inadequate water, scant waste management, and lack of health services have become major stumbling blocks in the United States-Mexico Border region. In addition, insufficient information has contributed to the development of environmental justice issues. Access to information is critical when it comes to engaging impacted Border populations in resolving environmental problems.
Transferable Training Modules Goal
Address the limited access to information by harnessing and reinforcing community health advocates (promotores) in disseminating environmental health facts and advisory notices to vulnerable and difficult-to-reach communities.
Transferable Training Modules Introduction
The transferable training modules have been designed to prepare and support promotores as conduits of environmental health information to vulnerable populations they serve via flexible training courses. The modules are built on the “train-the-trainer” model (promotores train other promotores) that can eventually expand environmentally themed trainings, which promotores do not easily come by during typical educational workshops they attend. By providing this tool, environmental science information will also multiply into serviced communities. During house, patient, or business visits, promotores can provide relevant information that can be implemented to lower environmental health risks in families and workers.
The development of these transferable training modules relied on:
- Determining training needs from pilot groups of promotores that were selected from southern Arizona, U.S.-Mexico Border, and northern Mexico.
- Developing transferrable environmental science themed modular training courses.
- Testing the modular training courses on pilot groups of promotores.
Input on module subject, design, and content were received by established groups of promotores and university investigators situated in the Border or adjacent areas. The initial project incorporated three promotor organizations that include:
- Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora (ITSON), Ciudad Obregon, SO Mexico
- Regional Center for Border Health, Inc. (RCBH), Somerton, AZ
- Sonora Environmental Research Institute, Inc. (SERI), Tucson, AZ
The module themes (Arsenic, Pesticides, Environmental Toxicology, and Risk Assessment) reflect issues that are relevant to both the current environment situation as well as the needs of promotores in southern Arizona, northern Mexico, and the border region.
These modules were tested and refined via pilot trainings that spanned from 2011 until 2013. A total of ten of these trainings were completed in addition to five “train-the-trainer” workshops, which prepared trainers to provide the pilot trainings. Various types of trainers (e.g. graduate students, science experts, and environmental promotores) as well as audiences (e.g. clinic workers, environmental specialists, technical college professors, municipal workers, and community advocates) were incorporated in the pilot period. Input was obtained via training surveys and feedback sessions with trainers. Comments obtained were incorporated into this edition and future chapters will incorporate lessons learned in their development. This is a work in progress that can be modified due to new added themes, change in the science information, or feedback received by module users.
The modules are available in both electronic and hardcopy form. “Train-the-trainer” workshops can be provided free of charge by the Superfund Research Program Community Engagement Core via a formal request. Those that will benefit from these workshops are more than likely promotor group(s) wanting to implement environmental themed trainings into their ongoing education curricula. These “train-the-trainer” workshops will help prepare promotores to provide transferable module trainings to others in their organization or area.