180332 Overcoming the disconnect between administrators and community health workers to improve job retention and program effectiveness

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 9:30 AM

Cindy M. Marti, MPH , Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers, Jamaica Plain, MA
Lisa Renee Holderby, LSWA , Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers, Shrewsbury, MA
Across the nation public health programs are seeking successful strategies to reach diverse populations. In order to create effective public health programs at the local level, many health administrators employ community members as liaisons to the community. These community health workers (CHWs) are hired for their unique understanding of the experiences, language and culture of the communities they serve. Retaining CHWs can be challenging and yet it is a salient piece of successful health and human service programs. To avoid financial and opportunity costs, health administrators are overcoming barriers for retaining CHWs. This presentation highlights the collaboration between health administrators and CHWs to improve job retention and satisfaction in Massachusetts. Through regional discussions and employer forums, CHWs and health administrators are developing strategies to best support the organization's mission and each others' work. These strategies will be discussed with participants. These discussions were initiated by the statewide CHW professional association (Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers) and by the Community Health Worker Initiative of Boston, which is a 3 year program funded by Skillworks who's mission is to enable community health workers access to education and skills training leading to sustainable jobs, living wages and career pathways, while promoting policies that ensure appropriate employer funding to achieve these goals.

Learning Objectives:
Identify which employees fit under the umbrella term community health workers Recognize the importance of retaining community health workers at their organization Describe at least 3 strategies for improving job retention among community health workers

Keywords: Staff Retention, Professional Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Having both worked as a community health worker and studied health management, I understand the need to cross those gaps so that programs can be effective as possible. I facilitated the majority of these meetings with community health workers and employers, thus I can provide accurate information about the concerns and solutions of both parties.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.