It was December 5, 1972, when Concern America officially established its roots as an organization, born at a kitchen table in Sacramento, California. Throughout our history, we have walked alongside people affected by armed conflict, displacement, material poverty, and rural isolation, providing training in communities in remote regions so that they are able to provide their own, essential services. Recognizing that more than half the world’s population goes without access to primary health care services, we engage in long-term accompaniment to transform need into self-sufficiency.

Since our beginnings, we focused on building local capacity so that the people themselves could be their own agents of change and lead their own health, sanitation, education, and income generation programs where none exist.

Concern America developed and continues to implement an award-winning, health promoter practitioner model that has brought high quality, affordable health care to hundreds of thousands of people, led by members from their own communities.

Health promoter practitioners are trained with a depth of knowledge, skills, and ability to provide health care, in their native languages, comparable to that of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the U.S. Their skills include minor surgeries, palliative care, complicated deliveries, orthopedics, trauma management, diabetes control and treatment, and managing psychiatric conditions.

This integrated approach to health care also includes midwifery, as well as environmental health efforts, including the development of potable water sources and fuel-efficient stoves.

By delivering high quality health care to thousands previously out of reach, this model has saved countless lives while building community and transforming access to care. Furthermore, Concern’s innovative model extends beyond our work through our 23-book, self-published series, How To Teach Health, which enables any organization to implement its own health promoter practitioner program.

In spite of the immediate health threat of COVID-19 in the regions, and the hardships caused by the pandemic, the power of a community-led health system is evident to those living and working in the remote areas of Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia.

“The most gratifying thing for me about being a health promoter practitioner is to be able to bring humanized health care to the communities. We, the promoters and the patients, are on the same economic level, from the same communities, so they trust us to share their issues.” – Eva, Health Promoter Practitioner, Guatemala

“My goal for the future is to continue to be a health promoter practitioner, learn new things, and visit more communities. I hope we can create a larger program that supports many more families in need. Also, I hope my children are able to excel and find vocations that help the community.” – Silvestre, Health Promoter Practitioner, Guatemala

These past two years have shown us how fragile our health is, how quickly our health systems can become impacted and out of resources, and how crucial quality and accessible health care services are in every corner of the world.

guatemala course
New cohort of health promoter practitioners in their first course, February 2022, Guatemala

Now, more than ever, people are turning to their community health care providers for care. In response to the growing needs in more communities, Concern America has initiated new cohorts of health promoter practitioners in all of our health programs in 2022, expanding care to more than 10,000 people.

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