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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3072.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - Board 4

Abstract #111958

Psychosocial support for community health workers in a peer case management model

Dionna Walters, MPH1, Sharon Rumley, RN, MPH2, Cheryl Merzel, DrPH3, Wendy Nealy, MSW1, Amee Bay4, Gail Burrus4, Maureen Bell5, Jean Davis5, Pamela Davis, MPH2, Sarine Allen5, Lisa Sleet5, Kim Nixon2, and Rene Stratton4. (1) Mailman School of Public Health/Center for Applied Public Health, Columbia University, 722 W. 168th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10032, (2) Queens Comprehensive Perinatal Council, 106-46 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11433, (3) Center for Applied Public Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 West 168th St., 9th Floor, New York, NY 10032, (4) Suffolk County Perinatal Coalition, 475 E. Main Street, Suite 207, Patchogue, NY 11772, 631-475-5400, abay@scpc.net, (5) Economic Opportunity Commission of Nassau County, 134 Jackson Street, Hempstead, NY 11550

Downstate New York Healthy Start (DNYHS) is a community-university partnership that promotes healthy families with infants by improving access to health and social services in several underserved communities in the New York City and Long Island metropolitan area. At the heart of this effort are peer case managers, located in three community-based organizations, who provide outreach and referral services and health education, and whose experiences serve as the focal point for this abstract. Many case managers come from backgrounds similar to their clients, thus, they have similar environmental, social, and psychological risks. DNYHS addresses this by providing case management consultations and quarterly training and support meetings. DNYHS local agencies utilize case management consultants to perform case reviews and consultations, separate myths from reality about barriers and beliefs, and work to set boundaries between the case management staff and clients. DNYHS also holds quarterly projectwide training meetings to address capacity issues common across the agencies. DNYHS case managers use these meetings as an ongoing source of professional and psychosocial support. At these gatherings, they share best practices, solve professional problems common throughout the group, and support each other. According to one case manager, “it's a chance to vent and share information and solve each other's problems … we get a chance to learn from one another and whatever we learn, we use. . . It's an excellent source of support.” The DNYHS model serves as a useful example for other programs employing community health workers.

Learning Objectives: At the end of the presentation, learner will be able to

Keywords: Professional Development, Community Health Advisor

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

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The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA