Meet Luz Duvall – CHW, City Council Representative, Adjunct Teacher, Public Health Advocate. Luz Duval is a Sibley County Public Health Community Health Worker (CHW), a CHW Certificate Holder, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and a Minnesota West CHW Certificate Program Adjunct Instructor. She works in rural south-central Minnesota and teaches online. Luz does a lot as a CHW. She collaborates with Social Workers, Case Workers, and Public Health Nurses. She offers services at two levels, taking a person-centered or a community person-centered centered approach. She aims to help people understand their health and provide resources and system navigation to become self-sufficient.
Luz has been an important part of the community assessment process to identify health disparities, increase health equity, and identify the SDOH and economic, social, and political forces that shape them. Recently, she was involved in a Health Equity Data Analysis (HEDA), which determined a high need for addressing chronic conditions in the Latino community. She worked on the questions with the Public Health Nurses, Health Educators, and an Epidemiologist, serving as a cultural broker to ensure the surveys were culturally and linguistically appropriate. She used her knowledge of the community to recruit key community members and conducted interviews with Spanish-speaking clients. A report on this work in English or Spanish can be found at Meeker McLeod Sibley Community Health Services (MMS CHS).
CHW work is important to Luz because CHWs can stop people from falling through the cracks. “We understand upstream medicine. We need to help people become self-sufficient and manage their health before they fall through the cracks and identify why – what are the root causes of our community’s health problems? CHWs are important because we are those facilitators who can help Public Health. We can use data. We can plan strategies that are community-centered to address the root causes of health issues, decrease disparities, and increase Health Equity.”
Luz also ran for city council and won on November 8, 2022. “I helped my community by bringing change, the Latino voice, and making history as the first Latina taking that seat.” Luz had to leave that position, but she didn’t leave it empty. She recruited another Latina who has stepped into the position. Luz says, “We’re here, and we are taking key positions in our cities. CHWs are agents of change. We empower the voices of the community. CHWs are a face they recognize. This builds trust and helps people come forward to express their voice, their hopes and dreams.”