255148 Perceptions of certification and standardization of training of community health workers among health care professionals and social workers in New Mexico

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Mark Siemon, RN, APHN-BC, MPH, CPH, PhDc , College of Nursing, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Cindy Mendelson, RN, PhD , College of Nursing, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Community health workers (CHWs) can improve health and reduce health disparities. Many states would like to expand the use of CHWs. Increasing the diffusion of CHW programs is dependent on organizational-, political-, and policy-level factors. This research explored the perceptions of health care professionals about state training and certification of CHWs in New Mexico. Health and social work professionals (N=13) were interviewed on their perceptions of state certification and training of CHWs and the barriers to the diffusion and adoption of CHWs into health care organizations. The interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed. Each transcript was carefully read to gather a sense of each participant's perceptions of CHW certification and standardized training through an iterative process of reviewing the textual data and coding until primary categories were identified. The results of this study show that licensed health and social workers in New Mexico who have experience working with CHWs value the work that CHWs perform in communities. However, health and social service workers interviewed remain uncertain about how the standardization of CHW training and state certification will impact CHWs working in New Mexico. Efforts to transform the current health care system to include integration of CHWs will require leadership, financial and human resources, organizational change, and a shared vision for health equity. Further research on the impact of state CHW certification on the diffusion and adoption of CHWs into health care organizations is warranted.

Learning Areas:
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify policy and organizational factors that impact diffusion and adoption of community health workers into health care systems.

Keywords: Community-Oriented Primary Care, Service Integration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a public health nurse for 19 years, and I have Masters degrees and certification in both community health nursing (APHN-BC) and public health (CPH). I am currently a Teaching Associate and Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing candidate at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. I was the lead researcher for this project, and I will reoport on the outcomes for the study.
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.