223260 Engaging the community in advocating for social change: The role of CHWs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 8:30 AM - 8:50 AM

Lourdes Fernandez, Promotora , Mel and Enid Zuckerman of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Maia Ingram, MPH , Deputy Director, Arizona Prevention Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Jill Guernsey de Zapien, BA , Associate Dean for Community Programs, University of Arizona, College of Public Health, Tucson, AZ
Kenneth Schachter, MD , Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Kerstin Reinschmidt, PhD, MPH , Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Susan Kunz, MPH , Platicamos Salud, Mariposa Community Health Center, Inc., Nogales, AZ
Rosalinda Piper , Health Promotion-Disease Prevention, Mariposa CHC, Nogales, AZ
Floribella Redondo , Campesinos Sin Fronteras, Somerton, AZ
Robin Falconer , Prevention Services, Cochise County Health Department, Bisbee, AZ
Gail Emrick, MPH , Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Program, Tucson, AZ
Lucy Murrieta , Sunset Community Health Center, Sunset Community Health Center, Somerton, AZ
E. Lee Rosenthal, PhD, MPH , College of Health Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX
Lisa K. Staten, PhD , Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Community Health Workers (CHWs) have become a cornerstone of public health efforts to address health disparities. Social and economic conditions are at the core of health outcomes, and thus in order to create conditions that foster the achievement of optimal health across populations it is necessary to address systemic inequities in the distribution of resources and opportunities. Public engagement and community participation is recognized as crucial to the process of identifying, prioritizing and solving social problems that impact health. However, historically many communities have been shut out of the decision making process. CHWs are recognized as providing a vehicle through which community knowledge can be created and shared with policy makers, and there is evidence that historically CHWs have played a major role in empowering the community to take action for change. However, much of the research on CHWs focuses on their impact on individual health outcomes and ignores this broader and more fundamental issue. The Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion conducted a national survey of CHW community health advocacy that sought to assess the current level of CHW community advocacy. Additionally, the survey explored CHW roles and responsibilities, training opportunities, and job environments that might be associated with advocacy activities. The survey, which builds upon a state-wide survey conducted in collaboration with the Arizona Community Health Workers Network, was disseminated through CHW National and State networks. The preliminary results of the survey will be presented.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1.Differentiate between individual and community advocacy activities and their potential to impact the underlying social indicators of health. 2.Assess the current level of CHW community advocacy across the United States. 3.Identify individual characteristics, training opportunities and job environments that may be associated with CHW community advocacy.

Keywords: Advocacy, Community Health Advisor

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a Co-Chair of the Arizona Community Health Worker Network and have been integrally involved in the research being presented
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.