142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

CHWs on fire but not burnt out

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Julie Ann St. John, MA, MPH, DrPH , Center for Community Health Development, School of Rural Public Health, TAMHSC, San Benito, TX
Katharine Nimmons, MSc, MPH , Center for Community Health Development - National CHW Training Center, TX A&M School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
As the awareness, utilization, and demand of CHWs has grown rapidly, so have the number of issues related to CHWs: CHW definition; scope/practice; certification/credentialing; competencies/training; funding/reimbursement; supervision; professional development; burn-out; and job turnover. Of particular concern are the growing rates of job turnover (related to funding and supervision) and burnout (related to increased responsibilities without sufficient support, compensation, and recognition). This presentation will share lessons learned regarding empowering CHWs and reducing burnout and job turnover based on the experiences of a CHW training center and research projects employing CHWs. Specifically, the presenters (CHW instructor/CHW) will highlight key findings identified by CHWs and staff, including: 1) include CHWs in all phases of a project—from initial project conception to the planning, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of results; 2) clearly identify CHW roles/responsibilities; 3) create an environment that involves CHWs in decision making; 4) allow CHWs to identify areas of needed training (let them go to “fun” trainings); 5) generate professional development opportunities identified by the CHWs; 6) develop peer-to-peer mentoring programs; 7) include CHWs in the creation and implementation of sustainability activities; 8) allow CHWs to give back to their communities in their own unique and creative ways—supporting CHW-lead service projects and events; and 9) seek out opportunities for CHWS to showcase their work. The presenters will engage the audience in a dialogue about strategies to engage and support CHWs and prevent burnout based on their respective experiences and communities through interactive activities including “CHWS Feud” and personal testimonies.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List factors that contribute to burnout and high job turnover rates in CHWs. Discuss ways to support and empower CHWs and to reduce burnout and job turnover. Dialogue strategies for sustaining CHW positions and funding sources.

Keyword(s): Community Health Workers and Promoters, Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as the director of the National CHW Training Center and has trained, supervised, and worked with CHWs for the past twelve 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.