This page provides a selected list of current articles from the research literature of interest to stakeholders in the Promotor(a) or Community Health Worker Training and Certification Program. A promotora/community health worker is defined here as a person who, with or without compensation:
- provides cultural mediation between their communities and health and human service systems;
- provides informal counseling and social support;
- provides culturally and linguistically appropriate health education;
- advocates for individual and community needs;
- assures people get the services they need;
- builds individual and community capacity;
- or provides referral and follow-up services.
For further information on the following articles contact the Medical and Research Library at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-776-7559. For further information on promotoras/es and community health workers in Texas, contact email@example.com, (512) 776-2570 or (512) 776-2624, or visit the Promotor(a) or Community Health Worker Training and Certification Program website, part of the Office of Title V and Family Health, at http://www.dshs.texas.gov/mch/chw.shtm.
External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These sites may also not be accessible to people with disabilities. The links were working at the time they were created.
Selected Current Journal Articles and Reports
[See a more comprehensive bibliography of articles on community health workers.]
Community Health Workers Information Briefs by the Pacific and Southwest Regional Health Equity Council. http://region9.npa-rhec.org/in-the-spotlight/infobrief
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Interventions
Engaging Community Health Workers - Task Force Finding and Rationale
Understanding Scope and Competencies: A Contemporary Look at the United States Community Health Worker Field. Progress Report of the Community Health Worker (CHW) Core Consensus (C3) Project: Building National Consensus on CHW Core Roles, Skills, and Qualities. Rosenthal EL, Rush, CH, Allen CG. April 2016 http://files.ctctcdn.com/a907c850501/1c1289f0-88cc-49c3-a238-66def942c147.pdf?ver=1462294723000
CHW-roles and opportunities in healthcare delivery system reform by John e. Snyder, ASPE Issue Brief, January 2016.
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. The strongest evidence of these benefits supports utilizing CHWs to deliver certain specific, high-value, preventive services – focused on reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions – to low-income, minority, or other underserved populations. Despite growing interest in engaging CHWs in national delivery system reform efforts, there are several uncertainties about how to best proceed with this. Questions remain around standardizing CHW training, certification, and licensure; establishing strong economic and other evidence to support their use; and securing reimbursement for their services to ensure financial sustainability of CHW programs. https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/168956/CHWPolicy.pdf
New Map on Community Health Worker Models
This new NASHP map and chart makes it easy for you to find information about various activities related to CHWs in the states. http://www.nashp.org/state-community-health-worker-models/
New Community Health Worker Toolkit
The Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention has compiled evidence-based research that supports the effectiveness of CHWs in a Community Health Worker (CHW) Toolkit. The toolkit also includes information that state health departments can use to train and further build capacity for CHWs in their communities as well as helpful resources that CHWs can use within their communities (http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/pubs/chw-toolkit.htm).
Community Health Worker (CHW) Resources
- Community Health Workers (CHWs) Training/Certification Standards Current Status http://www.astho.org/Public-Policy/Public-Health-Law/Scope-of-Practice/CHW-Certification-Standards/
- Strategies for Supporting Expanded Roles for Non-Clinicians on Primary Care Teams, National Academy for State Health Policy http://www.nashp.org/sites/default/files/NOSOLO-new3.pdf
States Implementing Community Health Worker Strategies
This new technical assistance guide summarizes the successful work of organizations as it relates to Domains 3 and 4 (Health Systems Interventions and Community-Clinical Linkages, respectively) of CDC’s State Public Health Actions program (CDC-RFA-DP13-1305). It also offers insights for states that are implementing CHW strategies. Recommendations were developed by compiling interviews with 9 organizations experienced in integrating CHWs into healthcare teams and engaging CHWs in promoting linkages between the health care system and community resources. Additional findings from a review of evidence-based literature are also included.
Castaneda SF, Giacinto RE, Medeiros EA, Brongiel I, Cardona O, Perez P, Talavera GA. Academic-community partnership to develop a patient-centered breast cancer risk reduction program for Latina primary care patients. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2016 Jun;3(2):189-99.
This collaborative study sought to address Latina breast cancer (BC) disparities by increasing health literacy (HL) in a community health center situated on the US-Mexico border region of San Diego County. An academic-community partnership conducted formative research to develop a culturally tailored promotora-based intervention with 109 individuals. The Spanish language program, entitled Nuestra Cocina: Mesa Buena, Vida Sana (Our Kitchen: Good Table, Healthy Life), included six sessions targeting HL, women's health, BC risk reduction, and patient-provider communication; sessions include cooking demonstrations of recipes with cancer-risk-reducing ingredients. A pilot study with 47 community health center Latina patients was conducted to examine the program's acceptability, feasibility, and ability to impact knowledge and skills. Pre- and post-analyses demonstrated that participants improved their self-reported cancer screening, BC knowledge, daily fruit and vegetable intake, and ability to read a nutrition label (p < 0.05). Results of the pilot study demonstrate the importance of utilizing patient-centered culturally appropriate noninvasive means to educate and empower Latina patients.
Coronado GD, Beresford SA, McLerran D, et al. Multilevel intervention raises Latina participation in mammography screening: findings from ¡Fortaleza Latina! Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Apr;25(4):584-92.
Background: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States, and Latinas have relatively low rates of screening participation. The Multilevel Intervention to Increase Latina Participation in Mammography Screening study (¡Fortaleza Latina!) sought to assess the efficacy of a clinic- and patient-level program to increase breast cancer screening among Latinas in Western Washington who seek care at a safety net health center. Methods: The study enrolled 536 Latinas ages 42 to 74 who had a primary care clinic visit in the previous 5 years and had not obtained a mammogram in the previous 2 years. Participants were block-randomized within clinic to either (i) a control arm (usual care) or (ii) a promotora-led, motivational interviewing intervention that included a home visit and telephone follow-up. At the clinic level, two of four participating clinics were provided additional mammography services delivered by a mobile mammography unit. Results: Rates of screening mammography 1 year post-randomization were 19.6% in the intervention group and 11.0% in the usual care group (P < 0.01), based on medical record data. No significant differences in participants' mammography screening were observed in clinics randomized to additional mammography services versus usual care (15.8% vs. 14.4%; P = 0.68). Conclusion: This multilevel intervention of promotora-delivered motivational interviewing and free mammography services modestly raised rates of participation in breast cancer screening among Latinas. Impact: Our findings can inform future efforts to boost mammography participation in safety net practices.
Hilfinger Messias DK, Sharpe PA, Del Castillo-Gonzalez L, Trevino L, Parra-Medina D. Living in limbo: Latinas' assessment of lower Rio Grande Valley colonias communities. Public Health Nurs. 2016 Dec 5. doi: 10.1111/phn.12307. [Epub ahead of print]
Community asset mapping (CAM) is the collective process of identifying local assets and strategizing processes to address public health issues and concerns and improve quality of life. Prior to implementing a community-based physical activity intervention with Latinas in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley, promotoras [community health workers] conducted 16 interactive sessions in 8 colonias. The analysis of the transcribed CAM recordings and on-site observational data resulted in the construction of Living in Limbo as the thematic representation of these Latinas' social isolation and marginalization associated with pervasive poverty, undocumented immigration status or lack of citizenship, their fears emanating from threats to physical and emotional safety, and the barriers created by lack of availability and access to resources.
Hohl SD, Thompson B, Krok-Schoen JL, et al. Characterizing community health workers on research teams: results from the Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities. Am J Public Health. 2016 Apr;106(4):664-70.
Objectives: To quantify the characteristics of community health workers (CHWs) involved in community intervention research and, in particular, to characterize their job titles, roles, and responsibilities; recruitment and compensation; and training and supervision. Methods: We developed and administered a structured questionnaire consisting of 25 closed- and open-ended questions to staff on National Institutes of Health-funded Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities projects between March and April 2014. We report frequency distributions for CHW roles, sought-after skills, education requirements, benefits and incentives offered, and supervision and training activities. Results: A total of 54 individuals worked as CHWs across the 18 research projects and held a diverse range of job titles. The CHWs commonly collaborated on research project implementation, provided education and support to study participants, and collected data. Training was offered across projects to bolster CHW capacity to assist in intervention and research activities. Conclusions: Our experience suggests national benefit in supporting greater efforts to recruit, retain, and support the work of CHWs in community-engagement research.
Kyounghae K, Choi JS, Eunsuk C, et al. Effects of community-based health worker interventions to improve chronic disease management and care among vulnerable populations: a systematic review. Am J Public Health. 2016 Apr;106(4):e3-e28.
Background: Community-based health workers (CBHWs) are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of the community they serve. Recently, considerable attention has been drawn to CBHWs in promoting healthy behaviors and health outcomes among vulnerable populations who often face health inequities. Objectives: We performed a systematic review to synthesize evidence concerning the types of CBHW interventions, the qualification and characteristics of CBHWs, and patient outcomes and cost-effectiveness of such interventions in vulnerable populations with chronic, non-communicable conditions. Search methods: We undertook 4 electronic database searches--PubMed, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Cochrane--and hand searched reference collections to identify randomized controlled trials published in English before August 2014. Selection: We screened a total of 934 unique citations initially for titles and abstracts. Two reviewers then independently evaluated 166 full-text articles that were passed onto review processes. Sixty-one studies and 6 companion articles (e.g., cost-effectiveness analysis) met eligibility criteria for inclusion. Data collection and analysis: Four trained research assistants extracted data by using a standardized data extraction form developed by the authors. Subsequently, an independent research assistant reviewed extracted data to check accuracy. Discrepancies were resolved through discussions among the study team members. Each study was evaluated for its quality by 2 research assistants who extracted relevant study information. Interrater agreement rates ranged from 61% to 91% (average 86%). Any discrepancies in terms of quality rating were resolved through team discussions. Main results: All but 4 studies were conducted in the United States. The 2 most common areas for CBHW interventions were cancer prevention (n = 30) and cardiovascular disease risk reduction (n = 26). The roles assumed by CBHWs included health education (n = 48), counseling (n = 36), navigation assistance (n = 21), case management (n = 4), social services (n = 7), and social support (n = 18). Fifty-three studies provided information regarding CBHW training, yet CBHW competency evaluation (n = 9) and supervision procedures (n = 24) were largely under-reported. The length and duration of CBHW training ranged from 4 hours to 240 hours with an average of 41.3 hours (median: 1 6.5 hours) in 24 studies that reported length of training. Eight studies reported the frequency of supervision, which ranged from weekly to monthly. There was a trend toward improvements in cancer prevention (n = 21) and cardiovascular risk reduction (n = 16). Eight articles documented cost analyses and found that integrating CBHWs in to the health care delivery system was associated with cost-effective and sustainable care. Conclusions: Interventions by CBHWs appear to be effective when compared with alternatives and also cost-effective for certain health conditions, particularly when partnering with low-income, underserved, and racial and ethnic minority communities. Future research is warranted to fully incorporate CBHWs into the health care system to promote noncommunicable health outcomes among vulnerable populations.
Luque JS, Tarasenko YN, Reyes-Garcia C, et al. Salud es Vida: a Cervical Cancer Screening Intervention for Rural Latina Immigrant Women. J Cancer Educ. 2016 Jan 12. [Epub ahead of print]
This study examined the feasibility and efficacy of Salud es Vida-a promotora-led, Spanish language educational group session on cervical cancer screening (Pap tests)-self-efficacy (belief in ability to schedule and complete a Pap test), and knowledge among immigrant Hispanic/Latina women from farmworker backgrounds. These women are disproportionately burdened with cervical cancer, with mortality rates significantly higher than non-Hispanic whites. The two-arm, quasi-experimental study was conducted in four rural counties of Southeast Georgia in 2014-2015. Hispanic/Latina immigrant women aged 21-65 years and overdue for a Pap test were included as intervention (N = 38) and control (N = 52) group participants. The intervention was developed in partnership with a group of promotoras to create the toolkit of materials which includes a curriculum guide, a brochure, a flipchart, a short animated video, and in-class activities. Twelve (32 %) intervention group participants received the Pap test compared to 10 (19 %) control group participants (p = 0.178). The intervention group scored significantly higher on both cervical cancer knowledge recall and retention than the control group (p < 0.001). While there was no statistically significant difference in cervical cancer screening self-efficacy scores between the group participants, both groups scored higher at follow-up, adjusting for the baseline scores. The group intervention approach was associated with increased cervical cancer knowledge but not uptake of Pap test. More intensive interventions using patient navigation approaches or promotoras who actively follow participants or conducting one-on-one rather than group sessions may be needed to achieve improved screening outcomes with this population.
Molokwu J, Penaranda E, Flores S, Shokar NK. Evaluation of the effect of a promotora-led educational intervention on cervical cancer and human papillomavirus knowledge among predominantly Hispanic primary care patients on the US-Mexico Border. J Cancer Educ. 2015 Oct 27. [Epub ahead of print]
Despite declining cervical cancer rates, ethnic minorities continue to bear an unequal burden in morbidity and mortality. While access to screening is a major barrier, low levels of knowledge and cultural influences have been found to play a part in underutilization of preventive services. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effect of a promotora-led educational intervention on cervical cancer and human papillomavirus knowledge in mainly Hispanic females attending a primary care clinic. One hundred ten females were recruited from the waiting room of a busy primary care clinic and invited to attend individual or small group educational sessions. Participants completed knowledge surveys pre- and post-intervention. An overall evaluation of the educational session was also completed. Following the educational intervention, participants showed an improvement in knowledge scores from a mean score of 10.8 (SD 3.43) out of a possible score of 18 to a mean score of 16.0 (SD1.51) (p < 0.001). 94.5 % of participants rated as excellent, the presentation of information in a way that was easy to understand, most reported that it was a good use of their time and that it lowered their anxiety about testing for early detection of cervical cancer. An educational intervention delivered by well-trained Promotora/Lay health care worker significantly improves patient's cervical cancer and HPV knowledge and can be a useful tool in patient education in the clinical setting especially with high risk populations.
Moore AA, Karno MP, Ray L, et al. Development and preliminary testing of a promotora-delivered, Spanish language, counseling intervention for heavy drinking among male, Latino day laborers. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2016 Mar;62:96-101.
This study developed and then tested the feasibility, acceptability and initial efficacy of a 3-session, culturally adapted, intervention combining motivational enhancement therapy (MET) and strengths-based case management (SBCM) delivered by promotoras in Spanish to reduce heavy drinking among male, Latino day laborers. A pilot two-group randomized trial (N=29) was conducted to evaluate the initial efficacy of MET/SBCM compared to brief feedback (BF). Alcohol-related measures were assessed at 6, 12 and 18 weeks after baseline. Most intervention group participants (12/14) attended all counseling sessions and most participants (25/29) remained in the study at 18 weeks. Alcohol related measures improved in both groups over time with no statistically significant differences observed at any of the time points. However the comparative effect size of MET/SBCM on weekly drinking was in the large range at 6-weeks and in the moderate range at 12-weeks. Post hoc analyses identified a statistically significant reduction in number of drinks over time for participants in the intervention group but not for control group participants. Despite the extreme vulnerability of the population, most participants completed all sessions of MET/SBCM and reported high satisfaction with the intervention. We feel our community partnership facilitated these successes. Additional studies of community-partnered and culturally adapted interventions are needed to reduce heavy drinking among the growing population of Latinos in the U.S.
Morgan AU, Grande DT, Carter T, Long JA, Kangovi S. Penn Center for Community Health Workers: step-by-step approach to sustain an evidence-based community health worker intervention at an academic medical center. Am J Public Health. 2016 Sep 15:e1-e3. [Epub ahead of print]
Community-engaged researchers who work with low-income communities can be reliant on grant funding. We use the illustrative case of the Penn Center for Community Health Workers (PCCHW) to describe a step-by-step framework for achieving financial sustainability for community-engaged research interventions. PCCHW began as a small grant-funded research project but followed an 8-step framework to engage both low-income patients and funders, determine outcomes, and calculate return on investment. PCCHW is now fully funded by Penn Medicine and delivers the Individualized Management for Patient-Centered Targets (IMPaCT) community health worker intervention to 2000 patients annually.
Rios-Ellis B, Nguyen-Rodriguez ST, Espinoza L, et al. Engaging community with promotores de salud to support infant nutrition and breastfeeding among Latinas residing in Los Angeles County: Salud con Hyland's. Health Care Women Int. 2015;36(6):711-29.
The Salud con Hyland's Project: Comienzo Saludable, Familia Sana [Health With Hyland's Project: Healthy Start, Healthy Family],was developed to provide education and support to Latina mothers regarding healthy infant feeding practices and maternal health. The promotora-delivered intervention was comprised of two charlas (educational sessions) and a supplemental, culturally and linguistically relevant infant feeding and care rolling calendar. Results indicate that the intervention increased intention to breastfeed exclusively, as well as to delay infant initiation of solids by 5 to 6 months. Qualitative feedback identified barriers to maternal and child health education as well as highlighted several benefits of the intervention.
Schwingel A, Wiley AR, Teran-Garcia M, et al. Promotoras and the semantic gap between Latino community health researchers and Latino communities. Health Promot Pract. 2016 Oct 18. pii: 1524839916670576. [Epub ahead of print]
Promotoras are identified as a unique group of community health workers adept at reducing health disparities. This qualitative study was conducted to better understand perceptions of the term promotora, broadly used in research but not well documented in everyday Latina vocabulary. Six focus groups to better understand perceptions of the term promotora were conducted with 36 Latina women living in three nonmetropolitan areas in Illinois. Results suggest that Latina participants in the study do not understand the meaning of "promotora" in the same way as it is used in the literature. Latina participants understood "promotoras" as referring to people who sell or deliver information, or organize events in the community that are not necessarily related to health events or community health work. Furthermore, they usually understood the term to refer to paid work rather than volunteering. Results underscore the importance of being sensitive to Latinas' perceptions of community health terminology by assessing their context, needs, and expectations. These findings call researchers' attention to the need to educate certain Latino communities about the concept of promotoras, with implications for the implementation and dissemination of promotora-led community health programs, as the semantic discrepancy could affect the recruitment of promotoras as well as community participation in the programs they deliver.
Shelton RC, Dunston SK, Leoce N, et al. Predictors of activity level and retention among African American lay health advisors (LHAs) from The National Witness Project: Implications for the implementation and sustainability of community-based LHA programs from a longitudinal study. Implement Sci. 2016 Mar 22;11:41. doi: 10.1186/s13012-016-0403-9.
Background: Lay health advisor (LHA) programs are increasingly being implemented in the USA and globally in the context of health promotion and disease prevention. LHAs are effective in addressing health disparities when used to reach medically underserved populations, with strong evidence among African American and Hispanic women. Despite their success and the evidence supporting implementation of LHA programs in community settings, there are tremendous barriers to sustaining LHA programs and little is understood about their implementation and sustainability in "real-world" settings. The purpose of this study was to (1) propose a conceptual framework to investigate factors at individual, social, and organizational levels that impact LHA activity and retention; and (2) use prospective data to investigate the individual, social, and organizational factors that predict activity level and retention among a community-based sample of African American LHAs participating in an effective, evidence-based LHA program (National Witness Project; NWP). Methods: Seventy-six LHAs were recruited from eight NWP sites across the USA. Baseline predictor data was collected from LHAs during a telephone questionnaire administered between 2010 and 2011. Outcome data on LHA participation and program activity levels were collected in the fall of 2012 from NWP program directors. Chi-square and ANOVA tests were used to identify differences between retained and completely inactive LHAs, and LHAs with high/moderate vs. low/no activity levels. Multivariable logistic regression models were conducted to identify variables that predicted LHA retention and activity levels. Results: In multivariable models, LHAs based at sites with academic partnerships had increased odds of retention and high/moderate activity levels, even after adjusting for baseline LHA activity level. Higher religiosity among LHAs was associated with decreased odds of being highly/moderately active. LHA role clarity and self-efficacy were associated with retention and high/moderate activity in multivariable models unadjusted for baseline LHA activity level. Conclusions: Organizational and role-related factors are critical in influencing the retention and activity levels of LHAs. Developing and fostering partnerships with academic institutions will be important strategies to promote successful implementation and sustainability of LHA programs. Clarifying role expectations and building self-efficacy during LHA recruitment and training should be further explored to promote LHA retention and participation.
Shokar NK, Byrd T, Salaiz R, et al. Against colorectal cancer in our neighborhoods (ACCION): A comprehensive community-wide colorectal cancer screening intervention for the uninsured in a predominantly Hispanic community. Prev Med. 2016 Aug 26. pii: S0091-7435(16)30251-1. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.08.039. [Epub ahead of print]
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA. Screening is widely recommended but underutilized, particularly among the low income, the uninsured, recent immigrants and Hispanics. The study objective was to determine the effectiveness of a comprehensive community-wide, bilingual, CRC screening intervention among uninsured predominantly Hispanic individuals. This prospective study was embedded in a CRC screening program and utilized a quasi-experimental design. Recruitment occurred from Community and clinic sites. Inclusion criteria were aged 50-75years, uninsured, due for CRC screening, Texas address and exclusions were a history of CRC, or recent rectal bleeding. Eligible subjects were randomized to either promotora (P), video (V), or combined promotora and video (PV) education, and also received no-cost screening with fecal immunochemical testing or colonoscopy and navigation. The non-randomly allocated controls recruited from a similar county, received no intervention. The main outcome was 6month self-reported CRC screening. Per protocol and worst case scenario analyses, and logistic regression with covariate adjustment were performed.784 subjects (467 in intervention group, 317 controls) were recruited; mean age was 56.8years; 78.4% were female, 98.7% were Hispanic and 90.0% were born in Mexico. In the worst case scenario analysis (n=784) screening uptake was 80.5% in the intervention group and 17.0% in the control group [relative risk 4.73, 95% CI: 3.69-6.05, P<0.001]. No educational group differences were observed. Covariate adjustment did not significantly alter the effect. A multicomponent community-wide, bilingual, CRC screening intervention significantly increased CRC screening in an uninsured predominantly Hispanic population.
Thompson B, Carosso EA, Jhingan E, et al. Results of a randomized controlled trial to increase cervical cancer screening among rural Latinas. Cancer. 2016 Oct 27. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30399. [Epub ahead of print]
Background: Latinas have the highest rates of cervical cancer in the United States and the second highest rate of cervical cancer mortality. One factor in the disparity is the relatively low rate of screening for cervical cancer in this population. Methods: Eligible women who were out of adherence with cervical cancer screening (>3 years since their last Papanicolaou [Pap] test) were identified via medical record review by a federally qualified local health center. The effects of a low-intensity intervention (video delivered to participants' homes; n = 150) and a high-intensity intervention (video plus a home-based educational session; n = 146) on cervical cancer screening uptake in comparison with a control arm (usual care; n = 147) were investigated. A cost-effectiveness analysis of the interventions was conducted: all intervention costs were calculated, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was computed. Finally, women with positive Pap tests were provided navigation by a community health educator to ensure that they received follow-up care. Results: A total of 443 Latinas participated. Seven months after randomization, significantly more women in the high-intensity arm received a Pap test (53.4%) in comparison with the low-intensity arm (38.7%; P < .001) and the usual-care arm (34.0%; P < .01). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for high-intensity women versus the control group amounted to $4.24. Twelve women had positive Pap tests, which encompassed diagnoses ranging from atypical squamous cells of unknown significance to invasive cancer; these women received navigation for follow-up care. Conclusions: A culturally appropriate, in-home, promotora-led educational intervention was successful in increasing cervical cancer screening among Latinas.
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