Online Program

Empowering Participants to Take Control of Their Asthma by Shifting the Paradigm to a More Holistic Approach: A CHW's Experience as a Change Agent

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rhonda Lay, CHW, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System, Chicago, IL
Sheena Freeman, B.A., Sinai Urban Health Institute, Chicago, IL
Jamie Campbell, MPH, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System, Chicago, IL
Julie Kuhn, M.S.W., Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System, Chicago, IL
Tala Schwindt, MPH, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System, Chicago, IL
Helen Margellos-Anast, MPH, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System, Chicago, IL
Located in Chicago’s Westside, communities surrounding the Sinai Health System face many barriers to health, including low income, substandard housing and poor air quality. In these neighborhoods, as many as one in four children suffer from asthma and hospitalization rates for asthma are nearly double the national rate. This presentation will be the first hand account of a CHW who has acted as a catalyst for change to impact asthma disparities as part of the Asthma CarePartners (ACP) program. ACP is a yearlong CHW, home intervention for clients with uncontrolled asthma. The program’s CHW takes a holistic approach, considering the whole person, to affect determinants of health by utilizing educational tools, environmental remediation and behavioral change plans to improve asthma management and quality of life in its participants. Current outcomes of the program, demonstrating a 74% reduction in asthma-related hospitalizations and a 71% reduction in emergency room visits, speak to the ability of the CHW to cater all education to the needs of the clients. CHWs encourage participants to embrace, learn and control the disease and to live a healthier lifestyle. CHWs have to become chameleons, changing their techniques and demeanor depending on the client’s lifestyle and perception, while maintaining their commitment to helping others. CHWs are confidants, encouragers and are oftentimes table psychologists. Once a client begins to trust the CHW as a member of their team, the real teaching begins and the client becomes empowered to advocate for themselves and are consequently successful in managing their asthma.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain why having face time with a CHW will decrease hospitalization and Emergency Department visits. Discuss how CHWs decrease psychosocial barriers to care by connecting with participants on a more personal basis. Explain how the CHW can empower individuals to take a more holistic approach in their healthcare.

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

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Community Health Worker and have been working in this community for six years. I see the health disparities and need to be an advocate for community health.
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.