241663 Peer Outreach Workers Can Engage Hard To Reach Populations in Medical Care

Monday, October 31, 2011: 1:10 PM

Rachael Peters, MPH, LMSW , SUNY Downstate Medical Center, FACES Network, Brooklyn, NY
Jeffrey Birnbaum, MD, MPH , Dept. Pediatrics, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Elizabeth A. Eastwood, PhD , Dept. Health & Nutrition Sciences, Brooklyn College, City University of NewYork, Brooklyn, NY
Women of color have been underserved in HIV/AIDS care. Systemic neglect of women's health issues, lack of access to care and other barriers has led to an increase in HIV rates and AIDS-related mortality. Central Brooklyn is an epicenter of the epidemic in the US. To address access and barriers, the HRSA-funded Peer Outreach Worker Engagement and Retention (POWER) Project uses peer outreach workers (peers) paired with case managers to engage and retain HIV+ women of color in medical care. Peers are paid staff with HIV who are part of the clinical team. Peers meet potential clients in their homes or in public venues, escort clients, and serve as role models. In implementing POWER, staff have hired, trained, and deployed peers, all of whom are still working one year later. Two focus groups, one each with peers and case managers revealed peers' needs to be professionals, integrated into the professional team, and case management support for peers' outreach work. Initial qualitative field data show the benefit of the peers' work in attracting HIV+ into care. Complex data collection tools to measure self-assessed health, barriers to care, resources (time and labor), and health outcomes (CD4, and Viral Load counts) are successfully administered by peers due to extensive training. Thus, people with low literacy levels can be trained to use tools at above their reading level. Quantitative data collection began in November 2010 (ending 2014) will later demonstrate peers' impact on health outcomes and resources to produce those outcomes.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Attendees will be able to identify three techniques which facilitate training of peer outreach workers and three barriers to training of peers.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Peer Counselors

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Coordinator for the POWER Program
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.

See more of: HIV/AIDS Linkage to Care
See more of: HIV/AIDS