The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5010.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 8:50 AM

Abstract #40768

Community Health Workers as cultural counselors and change agents

Sergio E Matos, BS, Community Health Worker Project at Hunter College, Hunter College/CUNY, 425 East 25th Street, Box 616, New York, NY 10010, Bakary Tandia, BA, Health Services Program, African Services Committee, 429 W. 127 St, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10027, and Romelia Rodriguez, CHW, Community Health and Asthma Mangement Project - CHAMP, Hunter College/CUNY, 425 East 25th St, Box 616, New York, NY 10010, 212-481-7659,

This presentation will feature representatives from a number of CHW programs from around the United States who will describe their roles as cultural counselors and change agents and explain challenges and strategies specific to their efforts.

Community health workers (CHWs) play a unique and vital role as cultural counselors and change agents in their work with underserved populations, newly immigrant groups, and persons at risk for particular illnesses. CHWs are successful in reaching populations historically difficult to reach with traditional outreach approaches. CHWs are also effective at delivering health education and promoting changes in behavior in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner. Such interventions generally lead to improved health outcomes for the target communities. The western medical culture of healthcare delivery found in many parts of this country is very different from previous health-seeking experiences of many new immigrants. Ethnomedical beliefs and practices may prevent people from accessing available healthcare services. CHWs are particularly effective at identifying and negotiating these barriers.

In the course of their work, CHWs often encounter people in the pre-contemplative stage of change for particular behavior targeted for change. At this stage people are unaware or under-aware that they have a problem. CHWs therefore access these populations at a much earlier stage than most healthcare team members and are in a position to provide appropriate resources earlier and more effectively.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Change Concepts, Community Health Advisor

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The Role of External Validity in Public Health Promotion and Prevention

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA