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Community health workers/lay patient navigators: Defining the intersection of research and community
Tuesday, November 18, 2014: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Demand for health care resources is increasing faster than the supply of traditional heath care providers. Also increasing is the proportion of medical visits attributable to modifiable lifestyle behaviors. Current medical training and health care reimbursement policies, however, favor curative care over preventive care, leaving providers ill-prepared to modify patient lifestyle behaviors. Moreover, providers typically have poor knowledge of the community barriers and resources affecting patients' adherence to federal nutrition and physical activity, as well as screening recommendations. Community health workers (CHWs), also known as lay patient navigators (PN), promotores de salud, community health representatives, community health advisors, and related titles, are increasingly viewed as practical solutions to these twin challenges. Community health workers / lay patient navigators are individuals who are selected by their communities to serve as coaches and navigators linking community members to community wellness resources. Public health and health care resources are increasingly being invested in the training and deployment of CHWs/PNs in communities identified as having disproportionately high rates of disease and premature death attributable to such avoidable conditions as alcoholism, cigarette smoking, obesity and stress.
Ten Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD) were funded by the National Cancer Institute and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in 2010 to address avoidable cancer-related and heart disease-related health disparities in specific underserved communities. These communities include low-income Latino immigrants in East Los Angeles, low-income Latinas in Seattle, medically underserved women in Chicago, and low-income white women in Appalachia. Most of these Centers include at least one research project that features trained community health workers / patient navigators as community health interventionists. Four presentations will discuss the Centers’ experiences in recruiting, training and deploying CHWs/PNs in their respective communities. Although the specific health disparity being targeted varies by Center, common themes characterize the investigators’ experience working with CHWs/PNs to reduce these disparities. These themes include increased penetrance of the community by the intervention, greater investigator insight into the barriers and opportunities for disparities reduction in the target community, and increased community capacity to pursue community-specific health priorities.
Session Objectives: Explain how the increased health access and increased focus on prevention mandated by the Affordable Care Act necessitate the recruitment, training and deployment of community health workers / patient navigators;
Describe how deployment of well-trained CHWs/PNs in their communities holds promise for increasing penetrance of public health interventions in those communities;
Discuss how the training and deployment of CHWs/PNs in their communities increase community members’ capacity to care for themselves.
See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.
Organized by: Women's Caucus
Endorsed by: Latino Caucus, Socialist Caucus, Community Health Planning and Policy Development, APHA-Committee on Women's Rights, Caucus on Refugee and Immigrant Health
Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)
Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)