Posts tagged Armida Flores
But it can also save your life.
Just take it from Armida Flores, a promotora (a trained community health worker) at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Flores spends her days helping people confront cancers and illness.
Because of this, she began to worry about her own health and decided to schedule a colonoscopy.
“I was a little bit nervous about it but, to my surprise, the procedure was not too bad,” Flores said. “I was asleep, so I did not feel any pain or discomfort.”
After explaining the procedure using simple medical terms, the doctor even offered to pray with her, an extra comfort that Flores welcomed.
“The procedure was fast and the staff was caring.”
The night before the procedure Flores had trouble sleeping because of the liquid laxative solution she had to drink. However, she was surprised to discover that the liquid laxative, usually known for its horrible taste, actually wasn’t bad. “The taste was okay, it was kind of salty and sweet,” she recalled.
The doctor found two small polyps in Flores’ colon that he was able to remove easily.
Flores eliminated potential dangers to her health just by deciding to take action.
“I think people are scared because of the word or because they heard something negative about it,” Flores said.
Armida Flores was a professional abuela—babysitting her granddaughters, volunteering at their schools, etc.—until they moved to California a few years ago.
Then Flores wasn’t sure what to do with her newfound spare time.
So the Mexico native, who was 30 years removed from school, didn’t know much English and had no career training, decided to enroll in bilingual nursing classes at Palo Alto College in San Antonio and simultaneously earned her GED in Spanish in 2008.
She also took beginner and advanced English to polish her language skills, and in May 2012 earned an associate’s degree in social work, psychology and Spanish.
“The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was to accept that I am not too old to start a new process in my life,” said Flores. “Now that I have overcome this obstacle, I continue working to improve my language and computer skills.”
She’s kick-started her career as a health educator at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
She serves as a patient navigator to help cancer survivors navigate the complex health care system, get emotional support, and access needed care services.
She also is a promotora—a community health worker for Latinos—on an IHPR-LIVESTRONG partnership to identify Latino cancer patients and refer them to LIVESTRONG’s cancer survivor services.
LIVESTRONG recently lauded Flores for having the highest number of referrals, and invited her to a national conference in July 2012.
Flores also coordinates workshops, member recruitment and record-keeping for the San Antonio Community Health Association, and she co-founded the Cuenta Conmigo cancer support group for Spanish speakers.
“Armida is the perfect bridge between our Latino community and our health care providers/system,” said IHPR researcher Sandra San Miguel de Majors. “Latino cancer survivors are able to relate to her because she’s from their own community, she speaks their same language and she understands their culture and barriers.
“I admire her positive attitude and willingness to help everyone. She’s got a quiet approach, but makes a very strong impact in our community.”
Flores hopes to eventually earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in counseling.
“My motivations to accomplish my goals are my family, myself, and my desire to learn how to be able to help people in my community,” she said.
Find the latest in Latino health—from fighting Latino liver cancer to innovative ways to improve life for Latino cancer survivors—in the new E-newsletter from the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The IHPR E-newsletter has these stories:
- Story and Video: Study Links Diabetes, Obesity to Liver Cancer in Latinos (Pg 1)
- Story: How a Professional Abuela Spawned a Health Career (Pg 2)
- Story: Clinical Trials & You (Pg 2)
- Story: Join Study Motivating Cancer Survivors to Get Fit (Pg 3)
- Story and Video: Closing Health Gaps for Latino Cancer Survivors (Pg 4)
- Videos: Health Novelas, Stories of Latino Diabetics, & More (Pg 10)
The E-newsletter is jam-packed with even more info on the latest local and national health disparities-related news, resources and events.
Visit us here.