Online Program

It's personal: Community health workers discuss intersections between their work and personal health behavior changes

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jena Bauman Adams, MPH, Center for Health Impact, Worcester, MA
Jennifer M. Madson, Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Worcester, MA
Tatyana Gorodetsky, M.Ed. (eq.), Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Worcester, MA
Joanne L. Calista, MS, LICSW, Executive Director, Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Inc. (CM AHEC), Worcester, MA
Often members of vulnerable communities themselves, Community Health Workers may live in similar environments, purchase and prepare similar foods, live similar lifestyles and face comparable health disparities and risks as their neighbors. This can make CHWs' work very personal. For the NHLBI Strategic Champions Demonstration Project, the Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center and its partners, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers and Boston Public Health Commission, trained and supported 67 CHWs to instruct hundreds of hours of heart health education in their Latino and African-American communities. Two other significant outcomes were health behavior changes among the CHWs themselves, and widespread CHW dissemination of the training information among their family and friends. After training, 100% of CHWs said they would/most likely would change health habits; 96% said they would/most likely would share training information with family; and 96% said they would/most likely would share training information with friends. After ninety days, 87% of CHW respondents had changed their own health habits; 100% had shared information with family; and 93% had shared information with friends. In the proposed session, CHWs and the project trainer will discuss the project content and experiences that motivated CHWs' health behavior changes, effecting positive change for themselves, families and friends. Lessons learned may assist project planners, CHWs and their trainers and supervisors to plan and implement ways to maximize CHWs' positive influence not only in their jobs, but also in their personal lives and networks inside of vulnerable populations or communities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how CHWs can maximize promotion of positive change when they feel and relay the message personally; Identify ways to support CHWs to widen their circles of influence; Demonstrate how to utilize personal networks for reaching vulnerable populations with important health information and resources.

Keyword(s): Community Health Promoters, Change Concepts

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a project planner and director of projects involving recruiting, training, mentoring, supporting, supervising and utilizing Community Health Workers for 20 years.
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.