203805 Strategies for Training and Supporting Community Health Workers in Multi-Service Organizations

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sally E. Findley, PhD , Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Luz Adriana Matiz, MD , WIN for Asthma, Columbia University, New York, NY
Patricia Peretz, MPH , WIN for Asthma, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University, New York, NY
Mary McCord, MD, MPH , General Pediatric, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY
Robyn Scherer, MPH , WIN for Asthma, WIN for Asthma, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University, New York, NY

Community Health Workers (CHWs) handle a broad range of issues in their work, and their training and supervision need to provide support for general and problem-focused work. Both need to be responsive to the evolving challenges faced by CHWs.

Approach: Our NYC-based childhood asthma coalition, WIN for Asthma, developed a partnership approach to CHWs, with 4 CHWs recruited by partner community based organizations (CBOs) to work in collaboration with a hospital's in-patient and out-patient services and with community pediatric providers. We developed a comprehensive month-long training including core competency skills and asthma-specific educational skills to provide a solid foundation, which is then supplemented by additional bi-monthly training. Training is interactive, with extensive use of role-plays. CHWs meet regularly with their CBO and hospital supervisors to ensure integration of CHWs within both institutional contexts. CHW supervisors at both organizations also meet regularly to coordinate case management and support services. In the context of this supervision, CHWs have asked for and received on-going training on communication skills, social service referrals, motivational interviewing, and other topics of concern, such as child abuse and domestic violence. CHWs receive frequent education on the latest advances in asthma care and medications.

Lessons Learned: The regular add-on training has helped CHWs improve the quality of work and strengthen their skills, while simultaneously enhancing their voice and effectiveness. Shared supervision has enabled the CHW training and roles to remain responsive to the community needs and has facilitated integration of CHWs in the organization and the hospital environments.

Learning Objectives:
(1) Participants will learn about the balance of core-competency and problem-specific training that has enabled successful support to families in the community. (2) Participants will understand how gradual evolution of the CHW training program helps CHWs better address the needs of the families with whom they work and the institutional needs of their organizations. (3) Participants will be educated about the dynamics of a joint supervisory process.

Keywords: Community Health Promoters, Asthma

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have lead in the design and implementation of this program, have also published articles on CHW training, and have years of experience working with coalitions to incorporate CHW roles.
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.