, Volume 44, Issue 1-2, pp 28-42

The Role of Lay Health Advisors in Cardiovascular Risk Reduction: A Review

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Abstract

Interventions are needed to reduce the negative impact of cardiovascular disease. The combination of health risks for disease, disability, and mortality, particularly among underserved populations, might be best addressed with programs designed to enhance awareness and development of resources within a context of community support. The objectives of this review were to: (1) provide a comprehensive review and evaluation of the roles, evaluation, and effectiveness of LHA in community-based programs with an emphasis on cardiovascular risk reduction; and (2) provide recommendations for future research involving LHA in such programs. Computer and manual searches were conducted of articles in the English-language literature from 1980 to 2007. Twenty articles were evaluated, which emphasized the role of the LHA in cardiovascular risk reduction. A review of research literature provides a starting point for determining salient approaches for intervention and evaluation, issues related to program implementation and sustainability, and strengths and limitations of existing approaches.