When Denise Hernández was a younger and passionate pupil, her grandmother inspired her to drop out of college and get married.
“As a result of, you already know, in our tradition it’s extra widespread to get married and have youngsters at a younger age,” Hernández stated smiling, recalling her Mexican grandma’s phrases.
However she stored on finding out.
Now, Hernández is married and a mom of two daughters.
At 33, she has a Ph.D. in public and concrete administration from the College of Texas at Arlington, a grasp’s in public well being from Texas A&M College and a bachelor’s diploma in allied well being sciences additionally from the latter.
Hernández, a baby of Mexican mother and father, was born in San Antonio. She moved to Dallas after she earned her bachelor diploma in Faculty Station.
As soon as right here, she realized that regardless of the necessity for well being outreach, there weren’t any teams or nonprofits doing the job.
In 2013, she set off calling different promoters within the space, she met them in particular person, and after two years, they based the group.
She is government director of the Dallas-Fort Value Group Well being Staff Affiliation, a nonprofit with greater than 100 well being promoters she based six years in the past in Dallas-Fort Value.
For her group work, Ford Motor Firm included her in its listing of “Legendary Ladies” together with 19 different U.S. Latinas as a part of the corporate’s recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Through the COVID pandemic, her group is looking for to create consciousness amongst folks to get vaccinated.
Its well being promoters go to church buildings, recreation facilities like YMCA and well being occasions they’re invited to for Q&A classes, speak to folks and do surveys to know why are there nonetheless folks resisting to get vaccinated to guard themselves in opposition to the novel coronavirus.
“We’re attempting to do what we will,” Hernández stated.
A piece that modified with the pandemic
For Hernández, the COVID pandemic has been a watershed.
Earlier than it, she stated, her work wasn’t as appreciated. However with the coronavirus, the nonprofit acquired its first finances in six years and obtained a grant to advertise security and vaccination in Tarrant County.
“Since COVID began, everyone understands the significance of getting a greater relationship with the group to have the ability to attain out in a more practical means”.
“Maybe a physician can inform you what it’s important to do, however you’re extra more likely to take heed to somebody you belief, somebody you already know and with whom you may have a relationship”, stated Hernández about her work.
“One thing good popping out of that is that there are extra organizations and extra people who find themselves seeing the worth of well being promoters”.
In Texas, she stated, well being advocates have a tough time discovering a paid job, and organizations like hers solely get grant funds that final for one or two years.
“We’d very very like to have the ability to advocate for hospitals and extra nonprofits to make an effort and add extra well being promoters as a part of their group, with out having to depend on grants,” she stated.
“For this 12 months, I’m serving as government director. For this 12 months, we have now a COVID grant. Solely this fashion can we pay our well being promoters. Apart from the grant, the whole lot is voluntary”.
Well being promoters are ladies who in any other case maintain full-time jobs, and solely on weekends or afternoons can do their outreach work of their neighborhoods.
“Our group works laborious locally, attempting to teach and supply prevention providers. Very often, the individuals who want this extra are the Hispanic group”, she stated.
Hernández is proud of the work she is doing. She feels it comes naturally.
As a baby, she stated, she used to translate for her mother throughout physician visits; she helped her along with her official paperwork, becoming a member of her to locations the place she confronted a language overseas to her.
“I’ve been working as a well being promoter for a few years unaware that what I used to be doing was a career. It’s a part of who I’m,” she stated.
The roughly 100 promoters dine each three months collectively, supply sources and educate the inhabitants nearer to their households.
“Well being promotion is a career. That is the place I have to be”, she stated.
“Our promoters advocate for his or her group.”