Skip to content

Engaging Minority Communities

The Problem:
In spite of the many improvements in a wide variety of diagnoses and quality indicators, there are still significant disparities in the quality of care racial and ethnic minorities receive compared to non-minorities. For the growing Latino communities in South Carolina, both access limitations and poor information about health resources were an issue, leading to many of those disparities.

The Goal:
Develop or connect with a community program to provide culturally responsive health education and guidance for the Latino community while partnering with healthcare and social service providers to help them provide more effective services to those communities.

Method & Implementation:
In 2005, PASOs, a community-reaching organization was created in response to research showing that Latino families in SC value health and wellness but needed a trusted source of information and support to address challenges and fill in gaps. PASOs, which means steps in Spanish, works with the rapidly growing Latino population of SC to promote health, education, advocacy and leadership development – all of which are steps to create a strong, healthy South Carolina. The organization has drawn financial and staffing support over the years from Palmetto Health, the South Carolina March of Dimes, the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, and The Duke Endowment, as well as various other funders both locally and nationally. PASOs provides programming in 14 SC counties and provides services to families from 22 counties.

PASOs expanded to Greenville County in 2009 through a partnership with the Greenville Health System and originally started in the OB-GYN Clinic. They then expanded into the Center for Pediatric Medicine and are now embedded in the Accountable Communities department as a key component in the system’s overall population health efforts. The team has effectively forged deep connections and confianza, or trust, in the Latino communities of Greenville and surrounding areas. PASOs supports a significant proportion of the county’s Latino population with the PASOs Health Connections Program, in which Resource Specialists and Community Health Workers (CHWs) work closely with individuals and their families, in a variety of settings such as clinics and community-based locations, connecting them with health and other needed services, and addressing multiple social determinants of health. The team also offers the PASOs Pediatric Literacy Program, which is a partnership with Reach Out and Read of the Carolinas, in which the staff help parents learn to read with their young children, and assist with early childhood development.

In the three-year period between 2015-2017, PASOs-Greenville team’s results include:

Helped Latino adults address 2,420 needs related to social determinants, access to care, and SNAP
Assisted 4500 children with a social determinant, food insecurity, literacy promotion or child development
Conducted 78 outreach events reaching 1,767 people at various community-based locations
Assisted 173 women in taking folic acid regularly over a period of six-months to one-year to prevent neural tube defects
Provided case management to 246 women during pregnancy, helping them to enroll in and attend prenatal care, improve exercise and nutrition habits, among other things
Helped 723 mothers successfully enroll in WIC, while providing education about WIC to 1,820

In addition, just in 2017, PASOs- Greenville results include:

Serviced 837 new adults and 1503 new children that had never been served by PASOs, effectively increasing GHS’ reach to this population
Helped 206 parents learn more about the importance of literacy and its relationship to brain development during early childhood, with many families obtaining a library card for the first time
Assisted 93 adults and 61 children successfully enroll in a medical home.

Cost Savings Benefit:
$4.21 saved for every dollar spent on a pregnant woman with WIC
$1.37 saved for every dollar invested in augmented prenatal care for high-risk pregnancies
$1,768-$5,560 cost saved per birth by reducing hospital and NICU admissions thanks to intensive prenatal care
14.7% fewer inpatient hospital stays when Medical Home initiatives are implemented
25.9% fewer Emergency Department visits when Medical Home initiatives are implemented
$791,900 is the lifetime direct cost of care for a child with spina bifida
>$200 million is the annual medical care and surgical costs for people with spina bifida

For more information about this story or to tell us about your own best practices, email us at