What do you get when you combine a pressing need for prenatal support among Latina women with a passion for serving the community well?
PASOs – the Spanish word for steps.
In June 2009, the Perinatal Awareness for Successful Outcomes program (PASOs) blossomed from the partnership of The Greenville Health System Obstetric Care Center (OB Center), South Carolina Public Health Institute (SC PHI) and The Duke Endowment.
The growing community initiative seeks to fight the high rate of birth defects and pregnancy complications among Latina women by providing education and training services free of charge.
While 2006 data from the South Carolina Department for Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) shows that the birth rate for Latino women is more than double that of other population subgroups, the University of South Carolina Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies found that 74% of Latinos reported having no health insurance. 
PASOs participants learn about prenatal care in a group-based environment, community-based health educators train to better sustain healthy practices and partnerships form throughout the non-profit sector, public health care system and Latino communities.
The service operates under the leadership of OB Center Medical Director Amy Picklesimer, MD, MSPH, and the guidance of PASOs Program Coordinator Paola Gutiérrez.
As program coordinator, Pájon says her passion for reaching out to young mothers in need comes from her “love for the female Latina community.”
“This is not like a job for me; it’s more like a hobby,” she said. “I have spent my whole life involved in the community and helping women that really need it.”
By seeking out these women through area groups and through various media outlets, Pájon works to break down barriers of language, transportation and lack of information so that she can establish a sense of compassion and trust between Latinas and resource providers.
The result of these efforts? Healthy babies and healthier communities.
As of July 2010, more than 150 participants have been educated through PASOs, while an additional 15 potential moms seek guidance from the office each day and 10 clinic tours are given each month.

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If you'd like more information on supporting patients and families, contact Philanthropy & Partnership Director of Women's Services Cathy Jones at (864) 797-7748 or

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