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New Grant Supports Training on Suicide Prevention and HIV/AIDs

A grant from the National Library of Medicine will support bilingual training on suicide and HIV/AIDs prevention.

BCOM librarians are shown posing in the library.Librarians at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) have received a grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine to provide free suicide prevention and HIV/AIDs training to promotores, or community health workers, in southern New Mexico.

“We are so excited to be able to offer this training to frontline health care workers who play a critical role within their communities in improving health outcomes,” says Associate Library Director Norice Lee. “Both suicide and HIV/AIDS are significant public health issues here in the borderplex. Those who live in remote areas within our region are especially in need of access to authoritative health information and enhanced community support.”

New Mexico ranks fourth among all U.S. states for suicide deaths, according to the American Association of Suicidology; and data from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shows that suicide is the second leading cause of death in New Mexico for those between the ages of 15 and 44.

HIV/AIDs awareness is particularly low among the Hispanic and Latino populations — and 47 percent of New Mexicans identify as Hispanic or Latino. Additionally, only 44 percent of Hispanic/Latino men are aware of their HIV status, according to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Brief.

Funded by the new $10,000 federal grant, the one-year project is entitled Salud y Bienestar: Entrenamiento Para Promotores or Health and Wellness: Training for Community Health Workers. The primary goal of the project is to increase knowledge of suicide prevention and HIV/AIDS; and to raise awareness and use of freely available English and Spanish National Library of Medicine online resources among current and future community health workers.

Lee and Erin Palazzolo, BCOM’s Library Director, along with a certified health educator and a bilingual translator, will train 40 to 80 promotores in rural and underserved border communities within Doña Ana and Luna counties, to include Anthony, Deming, and Sunland Park, NM.  A total of eight training sessions are expected to occur beginning in August. Continuing education credits will be available to training participants certified by the New Mexico Department of Public Health, Office of Community Health Workers.

“By training these promotores, our hope is that they will then return to their respective communities and share this knowledge, especially among Spanish speakers, helping to decrease both suicide and HIV/AIDS rates,” Palazzolo says.

Project partners include the Southern Area Health Education Center – Center for Health Innovations (soAHEC at CHI) and the Doña Ana Community College Public Health Program.