Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Daily life in Guatemala for most indigenous Mayan persons involves struggle, risk, and hardship. This country holds sharp contrasts: amazing beauty with volcanoes and jungles, and thousands of years of the advanced Mayan civilization along side the history of Spanish colonization, oppression, the daily face of poverty. Following a thirty-six year civil war, which ended in 1996, thousands of Guatemalan refugees returned from Mexico to re-create their lives in their homeland.

It is within this context, that a health initiative was begun as an international collaboration. The purpose of this initiative was to establish a program to educate and support local indigenous health promoters (also known as community health workers! within their own villages. The health promoters were chosen by their communities to receive education, support and supplies in order to Iessen the burden of illness.

This project utilized a co!laborative process, applying Leininger's theory to incorporate emic (insider) and etic (outsider! perspectives in designing, delivering and evaluating education provided for health promoters. The teaching and !earning process included classroom experiences, participatory exercises, and creation of teaching materials for use in local communities. Formal classes were followed by visits to selected villages to support the health promoter within their own context as they applied their learning.

The yield from this project has heen multiple enduring relationships which honor and incorporate indigenous ways of knowing to promote health. Another yield has been the development of an ongoing program which invites and includes Guatemalan teachers and mentors as well as resources from Minnesota in the form of teachers, materials and scholarships.


SC 11.DNP.2011.Baumgartner.KA

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Nursing Commons