Community Health Workers: a Resource to Support Antipsychotic Medication Adherence

  • Caitlin G. Allen
  • Michael A. Sugarman
  • Ashley Wennerstrom


Community health workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who are becoming increasingly integrated into medical settings for the prevention, treatment, and control of chronic disease. In particular, they have demonstrated the ability to improve medication adherence in underserved populations. One overlooked population that could benefit from CHW intervention is individuals with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These conditions are disproportionally weighted to economically disadvantaged communities and people of color, and are typically treated using antipsychotic medications. A number of factors, including social disadvantage, contribute to antipsychotic non-adherence, which is highly prevalent and drastically increases the burden of illness and economic impact of these conditions. This commentary examines the ways in which CHWs may be able to best serve individuals with severe mental illness, and proposes methods for facilitating this expanded scope of work.


Schizophrenia Bipolar Disorder Antipsychotic Medication Severe Mental Illness Community Health Worker 
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Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caitlin G. Allen
    • 1
  • Michael A. Sugarman
    • 2
  • Ashley Wennerstrom
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MedicineBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicineTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA

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