Establishing a Professional Profile of Community Health Workers: Results from a National Study of Roles, Activities and Training
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Community Health Workers (CHWs) have gained national recognition for their role in addressing health disparities and are increasingly integrated into the health care delivery system. There is a lack of consensus, however, regarding empirical evidence on the impact of CHW interventions on health outcomes. In this paper, we present results from the 2010 National Community Health Worker Advocacy Survey (NCHWAS) in an effort to strengthen a generalized understanding of the CHW profession that can be integrated into ongoing efforts to improve the health care delivery system. Results indicate that regardless of geographical location, work setting, and demographic characteristics, CHWs generally share similar professional characteristics, training preparation, and job activities. CHWs are likely to be female, representative of the community they serve, and to work in community health centers, clinics, community-based organizations, and health departments. The most common type of training is on-the-job and conference training. Most CHWs work with clients, groups, other CHWs and less frequently community leaders to address health issues, the most common of which are chronic disease, prevention and health care access. Descriptions of CHW activities documented in the survey demonstrate that CHWs apply core competencies in a synergistic manner in an effort to assure that their clients get the services they need. NCHWAS findings suggest that over the past 50 years, the CHW field has become standardized in response to the unmet needs of their communities. In research and practice, the field would benefit from being considered a health profession rather than an intervention.
- US Department of Health Office of Minority Health. (2011). Promotores de salud initiative. Retrieved May 19, 2011. From http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=207.
- Office of Management and Budget. (2009). OMB 2010 standard occupational classification (SOC)—OMB’s final decisions; notice. Federal register, 74(12), 3920–3936. Retrieved October 3, 2010. From http://www.bls.gov/soc/soc2010final.pdf.
- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (2010). Public law 111–148; sec 5101; 5102; 5313; 5403; and 3509.
- Van Duyn, M. A., Reuben, S. H., & Macario, E. (2006). Special populations networks: Themes and lessons learned. Cancer, 107(8 Suppl), 1945–1954. CrossRef
- Kaufman, A., Derksen, D., Alfero, C., DeFelice, R., Sava, S., Tomedi, A., et al. (2006). The health commons and care of new Mexico’s uninsured. Annals of Family Medicine, 4(Suppl 1), S22–S27. CrossRef
- Kuhajda, M. C., Cornell, C. E., Brownstein, J. N., Littleton, M., Stalker, V. G., Bittner, V. A., et al. (2006). Training community health workers to reduce health disparities in Alabama’s Black Belt: The pine apple heart disease and stroke project. Family & Community Health, 29, 89–102.
- Sheppard, V. B., Zambrana, R. E., & O’Malley, A. S. (2004). Providing health care to low-income women: A matter of trust. Family Practice, 21, 484–491. CrossRef
- Nemcek, M. A., & Sabatier, R. (2003). State of evaluation: Community health workers. Public Health Nursing, 20, 260–270. CrossRef
- Brach, C., & Fraser, I. (2000). Can cultural competency reduce racial and ethnic health disparities? A review and conceptual model. Medical Care Research & Revies, 57(Suppl 1), 181–217.
- Elder, J. P., Ayala, G. X., Campbell, N. R., Slymen, D., Lopez-Madurga, E. T., & Engelberg, M. (2005). Interpersonal and print nutrition communication for a Spanish-dominant Latino population: Secretos de la buena vida. Health Psychology, 24, 49–57.
- Corkery, E., Palmer, C., Foley, M. E., Schechter, C. B., Frisher, L., & Roman, S. H. (2005). Effect of a bicultural community health worker on completion of diabetes education in a Hispanic population. Diabetes Care, 20, 254–257. CrossRef
- Ingram, M., Torres, E., Redondo, F., Bradford, G., Wang, C., & O’Toole, M. (2007). The impact of promotores on social support and glycemic control. The Diabetes Educator, 33(Suppl. 6), 172S–178S. CrossRef
- Hunter, J., Guernsey de Zapien, J., Papenfuss, M., Fernandez, M., Meister, J., & Giuliano, A. (2004). The impact of a promotora on increasing routine chronic disease prevention among women aged 40 and older at the U.S.-Mexico border. Health Education & Behavior, 31(Suppl 4), 18S–28S. CrossRef
- Navarro, A., Senn, K., McNicholas, L., Kaplan, R., Roppe, B., & Campo, M. (1998). Por la vida model intervention enhances use of cancer screening tests among Latinas. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 15, 32–41. CrossRef
- Hansen, L. K., Feigl, P., Modiano, M. R., Lopez, J. A., Sluder, E., & Moinpour, C. M. (2005). An educational program to increase cervical and breast cancer screening in Hispanic women: A southwest oncology group study. Cancer Nursing, 28, 47–53. CrossRef
- Brownstein, J. N., Chowdhury, F. M., Norris, S. L., Horsley, T., Jack, L., Jr., Zhang, X., et al. (2007). Effectiveness of community health workers in the care of people with hypertension. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32(5), 435–447. CrossRef
- Norris, S. L., Chowdhury, F. M., Van Le, K., Horsley, T., Brownstein, J. N., Zhang, X., et al. (2006). Effectiveness of community health workers in the care of persons with diabetes. Diabetes Care, 23(5), 544–556.
- Reinschmidt, K. M., Hunter, J. B., Fernández, M. L., Lacy-Martínez, C. R., Guernsey de Zapien, J., & Meister, J. (2006). Understanding the success of promotoras in increasing chronic disease screening. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 17(2), 256–264. CrossRef
- Swider, M. (2004). Outcome effectiveness of community health workers: An integrative literature review. Public Health Nursing, 19, 11–20. CrossRef
- Rhodes, S. D., Foley, K. L., Zometa, C. S., & Bloom, F. R. (2007). Lay health advisor interventions among Hispanics/Latinos: A qualitative systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33(5), 418–427. CrossRef
- Ayala, G.X., Vaz, L., Earp, J., Elder, J., Cherrington, A. (2010) Outcome effectiveness of the lay health advisor model among Latinos in the United States: an examination by role. Health Education Researcj, 25(5), 815–840.
- Swider, S., Martin, M., Lynas, C., & Rothschild, S. (2010). Project match: Training for a promotora intervention. The Diabetes Educator, 36, 98–108. CrossRef
- Cherrinton, A., Ayala, G. X., Amick, H., Allison, J., Corbie-Smith, G., & Scarinci, I. (2008). Implementing the community health worker model within diabetes management: Challenges and lessons learned from programs across the United States. The Diabetes Educator, 34(5), 824–833. CrossRef
- Rosenthal, L., Wiggins, N., Ingram, M., Mayfield Johnson, S., & Zapien, J. (2011). Community health workers then and now: An overview of national studies aimed at defining the field. Journal of Ambulatory Care, 34(3), 247–259.
- Health Resrouces and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions. (2007). Community health worker national workforce study. Retrieved July 18, 2011. From http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/reports/chwstudy2007.pdf.
- Ingram, M., Sabo, S., Rothers, J., Wennerstrom, A., & De Zapien, J. G. (2008). Community health workers and community advocacy: Addressing health disparities. Journal of Community Health, 33(6), 417–424. CrossRef
- Establishing a Professional Profile of Community Health Workers: Results from a National Study of Roles, Activities and Training
Journal of Community Health
Volume 37, Issue 2 , pp 529-537
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Community health workers
- Health disparities
- Health care delivery system