262349 Training community health workers to promote preparedness and disaster resilience

Monday, October 29, 2012

Biblia Kim, MPH , School of Public Health- Center for Public Health Preparedness, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Rachel Long, MPH , Office of Public Health Practice, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Kimberley Shoaf, DrPH , Center for Public Health and Disasters, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Jesse C. Bliss, MPH , School of Public Health, Office of Public Health Practice, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Susanne Montgomery, PhD, MPH, MS , Behavioral Health Institute, Loma Linda University, Redlands, CA
Community health workers (CHWs) play an important role in connecting culturally, linguistically, and geographically isolated communities to essential services in Southern California. They have expanded their role to promote environmental health awareness and justice through organizations like the Community Center for Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) and Poder Popular of the Coachella Valley. In partnership with these agencies, the UCLA Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (PERRC) at Loma Linda University is investigating the effectiveness of training CHWs to promote the long-term health of communities through increased disaster resilience. This project uses a quasi-experimental mixed-methods community-based participatory research (CBPR) design to create a disaster preparedness capacity building program in two Latino communities (one urban and one rural). After receiving CBPR and Institutional Review Board (IRB) training, CHWs conducted 446 household surveys, which measured disaster resilience through indicators of social, economic, and ecologic capital and emergency preparedness beliefs, attitudes, and practices. Data was also collected through 25 key informant interviews, 5 focus groups, and 2 windshield surveys. The findings led to the development of a 9-hour, Spanish/English, awareness-level, train-the-trainer curriculum that teaches emergency preparedness and response, with emphasis on community planning and integration with the local resources. CHWs also increased linkages with the community and public health workforce at health fairs and table-top exercises. The session will discuss the process and impact evaluations, which present the approaches used in partnering with CHWs in this PERRC project as a new potential best practice for increasing disaster resilience among isolated communities.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the role of CHWs in investigating, designing, implementing, and evaluating a community disaster resilience program 2. Compare the effectiveness of training CHWs to increase disaster resilience in Latino communities with traditional top-down approach

Keywords: Community Health Promoters, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a researcher and coordinator at the Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (PERRC) at Loma Linda University. My work has been focused on community-based participatory research and its application in disaster preparedness among vulnerable communities.
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.