Online Program

Peer Training of Community Health Workers to Improve Heart Health Among African American Populations

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Robina Josiah Willock, MPH, PhD, Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Robert M. Mayberry, PhD, MS, MPH, R-CENTER Study Design, Biostatistics and Data Management Core, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Fengxia Yan, MD, MS, Morehouse School of Medicine- CLINICAL RSCH CTR CRC, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Pamela Daniels, MPH, MBA, PhD, Morehouse School of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
PURPOSE: African Americans suffer disproportionately from heart disease mortality and morbidity.  Trained community health workers (CHWs) can help to close this disparity gap. There is a dearth of research delineating the implementation and evaluation of peer-to-peer training of CHWs as heart health educators.  We evaluated a highly replicable CHW training program designed to reduce heart disease risk among high-risk African American populations. METHODS: We used a Learning Circle approach to train CHWs. The curriculum blended web-based training, self-directed learning and in-person peer coaching.  CHWs learned through: 1) peer-to-peer sharing; 2) problem-solving and brain-storming; 3) leadership and experiential activities. Training evaluation measures were CHW: 1) self-confidence; 2) heart health knowledge; 3) satisfaction with training; 4) training retention; and 5) replication of training within 90 days after training.  FINDINGS: This training resulted in appreciable effects on four of five outcome measures.  Heart health knowledge increased significantly among experienced CHWs (p=0.011). CHWs were highly satisfied with training.  Retention over the 4-day training period was 100%. CHWs initiated and subsequently delivered 122 person hours of community-based heart health education and CHW training sessions in their communities. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: The Learning Circle approach is easily tailored and closely simulates CHWs’ typical teaching/coaching style. The preliminary evaluation of this training model suggests that the methodology may work best for increasing heart health knowledge among experienced CHWs and CHWs who have some prior familiarity with heart health education content. Using the Learning Circle method to train CHWs is a practical and replicable method of training CHWs, and holds significant potential for building organization training capacity in resource-poor, community-based organizations.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the key elements in the design, implementation, and evaluation of a community-based, heart health education training for community health workers. Assess the appropriateness of the Learning Circle approach for training Community Health Workers (CHWs) to effectively function as community health educators.

Keyword(s): Heart Disease, Chronic Disease Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Robina Josiah Willock is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta GA and a Research Methodologist with the Study Design, Biostatistics and Data Management Core in the Clinical Research Center. Dr Josiah Willock has several years’ experience in diabetes self-management research, including research that integrates Community Health Workers (CHWs) into chronic disease management process.
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.