Online Program

A holistic training approach to addressing environmental stressors on reproductive health: Lessons learned from the community health worker corps of the transdisciplinary research consortium for gulf resilience on women's health

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Farah A. Arosemena, MPH, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Jenny Hurst, MPH, Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Anna Hassan, MPH, Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Community health workers are effective in improving access to healthcare, promoting client knowledge and behavior change, and contributing to improved health-related quality of life. However, few community-academic partnerships use this evidenced-based practice to specifically enhance research initiatives in disaster prone populations exposed to persistence environmental stressors. Along the Gulf Coast, ecosystem health plays a prominent role in building a sustainable future for coastal communities and is increasingly seen as the central platform of public health in the region. The vulnerability of location poses a significant challenge to the region's capacity to eliminate health disparities. In response, a multi-disciplinary team of investigators have developed competency standards and a logic model-driven approach for strengthening specialization in environmental sciences, disaster management, and reproductive health to achieve a sustainable community-based workforce. Using established CHW fundamentals and an existing adult-learning approach as the foundation, core competencies and specialty modules were implemented to enable sustainable participation in active Gulf Coast research. Currently, 100 WIC-eligible pregnant and post-partum women are being followed by 6 CHWs across the six Southeastern Louisiana parishes. A CHW Corps equipped with mobile health technology integrated into a community-based participatory research design addresses community resilience and has demonstrated increased engagement and adherence to prenatal care. The holistic CHW training framework empowers pregnant and post-partum women to learn, adhere to care, and actively adapt to changing conditions. CHWs shape innovation in public health research and practice to build resilience in vulnerable populations.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the development and implementation of the Transdisciplinary Research Consortium for Gulf Resilience on Women’s Health core-competency based CHW training approach. Discuss the CHW role in outreach, research and other defined community-academic initiatives. Demonstrate how the holistic training approach provided CHWs with a more contextualized view of Gulf Coast client needs.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Public Health, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have focused my career on improving the well-being of high risk populations, such as the underserved, ethnic minorities, and for the past 5 years, disaster prone communities. Specifically my interests are on the psychosocial aspects of disease, exploring cumulative stressors and the role of race and ethnicity on health outcomes. I have worked both domestically and internationally with vulnerable communities, implementing interventions to augment healthcare systems with holistic, homegrown, community-informed, and culturally tailored programs.
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.