TUCSON, Arizona — To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, the All of Us Research Program University of Arizona-Banner Health honors Berta Carbajal, co-founder and manager of the Helping Other Promotores Excel (HOPE) Network and Arizona State University research specialist, as the September/October Arizona Health Champion award winner.
All of Us UArizona-Banner created the Arizona Health Champion award series to recognize health professionals, educators, community partners and researchers dedicated to increasing the quality of health care, access, and research, especially in underserved communities.
All of Us UArizona-Banner recognizes the work of Carbajal, a third-generation “promotora de salud” (community health worker) who has dedicated herself to furthering the mission of “promotores” and their commitment to providing equitable health care in underserved communities.
As a research specialist at Arizona State University, Carbajal provides awareness through workshops designed to reduce stress and enhance well-being for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. She dedicates her work to the memory of her mother. Carbajal founded the HOPE Network as a forum to develop innovative ideas and strategies to advance the promotores model and strengthen the health of the communities they serve.
“The HOPE Network offers support, education, training, networking and collaboration opportunities,” Carbajal said. “Promotores have proven to be a vital part of informing communities on research opportunities among other health related topics. They are the bridge connecting communities and health care organizations and agencies.”
The HOPE Network encompasses community health care workers supporting underserved communities with a special focus on those working with the Hispanic/Latino community. As a fourth-generation Arizonan with roots in Mexico, Carbajal has witnessed health disparities in her community. She acknowledges the changes she has seen through the work of promotores and holds hope for a better future through education and research.
“It is important to identify underserved communities and provide information and education on health care, as well as on the importance of participating in health research, giving underserved communities the opportunity to voice their experiences, concerns, and questions, and providing researchers valuable data in order to better serve needs in diverse populations,” Carbajal said.
One of the core values of the All of Us Research Program is that participants reflect the rich diversity of the United States. All of Us UArizona-Banner currently leads the country in enrollment with more than 56,000 participants. More than 80% of those participants come from communities traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research and more than half are from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups.
“We are thrilled to honor the work of Berta and the promotores she represents,” said Carrie Whitten Simmons, senior manager at All of Us UArizona-Banner. “Their dedication to promoting health in underserved communities creates healthier individuals and healthier ways of life that are passed down from one generation to another. She was a fantastic addition to our Hispanic Heritage month webinar ‘Your Abuelita Was Right,’ with important insight on traditional healing practices and their relationship to Western medicine. We look forward to working with her on more projects in the future.”
An initiative of the National Institutes of Health, the All of Us Research Program, led by University of Arizona and Banner Health in Arizona and Colorado, aims to build the largest and most diverse database of health information of its kind to improve health for future generations.
Once a participant is enrolled, their personal information is separated from the data, which is then made available for researchers to study. There are currently more than 2,500 studies using All of Us Research Program’s data. Researchers are studying how factors like genetics, environment and lifestyle affect the way in which diseases and medications impact individuals differently. Study topics include the effects of COVID-19 outcomes in the aging Hispanic/Latino population, nicotine use and its effects on the Hispanic/Latino culture, and furthering understanding of why certain health disparities, like a higher prevalence of diabetes, exist in the Hispanic/Latino population.
To learn more, or to enroll, visit AllofUsAZ.org or call 877-268-2684.
The University of Arizona-Banner Health Program is supported under the National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program funding award OT2OD026549 with previous awards UG3OD023171-01 and UG3OD023171-01S1 and the CEAL funding award OT2-HL156812.
“All of Us” and the All of Us logo are registered service marks of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
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Photo available upon request.
Reporters and editors: Please note that the University of Arizona Health Sciences is separately recognized from the University of Arizona, similar to other academic health centers across the country. The preferred first reference is University of Arizona Health Sciences, and the preferred second reference is UArizona Health Sciences.
About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
Located on campuses in Tucson, Phoenix and Gilbert, Arizona, the University of Arizona Health Sciences is one of the top-ranked academic medical centers in the southwestern United States. UArizona Health Sciences includes the College of Medicine – Phoenix, College of Medicine – Tucson, College of Nursing, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, and Health Sciences Global and Online. In addition, 16 UArizona Health Sciences centers and programs focus on cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, pain and addiction, and respiratory diseases, biomedical informatics, health technology innovation and simulation training, and health disparities, precision health care and treatments, and pandemic preparedness. A leader in next-generation education, research, clinical care and public outreach, UArizona Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners more than $220 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: healthsciences.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).
About Banner Health
Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services -- including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit BannerHealth.com (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram).