Online Program

“A Little Fish in a Big Pond:” Strategies to Improve Supervision and Support for Community Health Workers

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Caitlin Allen, MPH, Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Cam Escoffery, PhD, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Anamika Satsangi, MPHc, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
J. Nell Brownstein, PhD, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
While community health workers (CHWs) are becoming a more accepted part of the health care team, this unique workforce requires appropriate supervision and careful support from other health professionals. This presentation will address organizational factors that challenge and support CHWs in their roles.

This presentation will begin with an interactive component: a self-assessment to help audience members think about supervision and integration issues CHWs face. Audience members will be encouraged to engage in interactive, anonymous, text-based polling throughout the presentation. We will share results from an online survey of over 250 CHWs and 23 interviews with CHWs using a semi-structured interview guide. Data were analyzed using SPSS to explore key roles and perceived level of integration. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed by two independent coders in MAXQDA. Key roles include assuring that people get services they need (56%) and advocating for individual and community needs (60%). Findings show CHWs consider themselves an important part of the care team but often to struggle to find their place “in a big pond.” CHWs feel most supported in their work when they have strong relationships with their team, are well trained, and make connections with CHWs outside of their organization.

Through active audience participation and rigorous mixed methods research, this presentation will describe type of supervisors CHWs work with, CHW’s satisfaction ratings based on various demographic criteria (e.g., size of organization, years at organization), and offer CHW-suggested strategies for improving CHW integration and supervision to improve job satisfaction and integration.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Chronic disease management and prevention
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the key roles of CHWs in chronic disease self-management. Compare three effective and three ineffective strategies for integrating CHWs into the care team. Describe three issues CHWs face in becoming part of the patient care team. Describe training competencies most relevant to CHWs. Assess personal supervision style and ways CHWs may fit into learners own community based organization or clinical setting.

Keyword(s): Community Health Workers and Promoters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on the project and have experience working with CHWs at the local, state, and national level.
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.