Community health workers are becoming increasingly integrated into medical settings for the prevention, treatment, and control of chronic disease, particularly for underserved populations. One specific population that may benefit from CHW intervention is individuals with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This commentary examines the ways in which CHWs may be able to best serve these individuals, and proposes methods for facilitating this expanded scope of work.
As an attempt to reduce hospital readmissions, a community health worker intervention was used to observe the feasibility and preliminary effect of such a program. The intervention included an inpatient introductory visit and weekly post-discharge telephone support for four weeks. In conclusion, hospital readmission rates were lower among CHW patients compared to usual care, though the difference was not statistically significant.
This paper analyzes trends and various approaches to professional development in U.S. community health worker training and certification programs using a national survey of these training programs. Three trends were identified from the national survey results and data collection: (1) schooling at the community college level—provides career advancement opportunities; (2) on-the-job training—improves standards of care, CHW income, and retention; and (3) certification at the state level—recognizes the work of CHWs, and facilitates Medicaid reimbursement for CHW services.
This paper evaluates the outcomes and feasibility of a promotora (female community health worker in Latino communities)-led lifestyle behavior intervention for overweight immigrant Latinas in the United States. Using a randomized controlled trial design, a culturally-tailored intervention was implemented in the intervention group and an educational program in the control group.
A randomized controlled trial was conducted among low-income households with a child aged 4-12 with asthma with one high-intensity group and one low-intensity group to assess the effectiveness of a CHW intervention focused on reducing exposure to indoor asthma triggers. Community health workers provided in-home environmental assessments, education, support for behavior change, and resources to participants.
This paper focuses on the role and documented effectiveness of CHWs in terms of quality, health care services, cost health services, as well as health behaviors and knowledge about the health care system among underserved populations in the United States. Sixty-five peer reviewed articles and publications were analyzed and compiled as data for this study, many of which indicate that CHW programs can improve access to health care, outreach and enrollment into public benefits, increase culturally competent health education, and reduce the cost of using the health care system.
In order to confirm the effectiveness of community health workers’ involvement as counselors or case managers in a self-help diabetes management program among Korean Americans in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, a randomized controlled trial was utilized. Different groups were counselled by either a CHW or an RN, with the CHW’s performance being comparable to the RN for psychobehavioral and physiological outcomes.
With the introduction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA), a unique opportunity to integrate community health worker models into health care delivery exists. This article discusses several different strategies for integrating CHW models within PPACA implementation through facilitated enrollment strategies, patient-centered medical homes, coordination and expansion of health information technology (HIT) efforts, and also discusses payment options for such integration.
This report, developed in The Center for the Health Professions at the University of California, San Francisco, explores the role of community health workers and promotores in California. It reviews the history and background of the movement, work and practice patterns such as education, demographics, wages and training, and issues of credentialing and certification, regulation, and policy concerns for Latino promotores in California.
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are an emerging group of health professionals that have recently drawn increased national attention because of their potential to deliver cost-effective, high quality, and culturally competent health services within team-based care models. The apparent benefits of integrating CHWs into health care teams seem to depend on context.