Online Program

Community Health Worker Professional Advocacy: Voices of Action from the 2014 National Community Health Worker Advocacy Survey

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Samantha Sabo, DrPH, MPH, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Ashley Wennerstrom, PhD, MPH, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Catherine Haywood, BSW, Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences,Prevention Research Center, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Floribella Redondo, BS, Arizona Community Health Outreach Worker Network, Phoenix, AZ
Jill de Zapien, BA, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Maia Ingram, MPH, Community, Environment & Policy Division, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
CHWs have been recognized as a promising strategy to address glaring health inequities among marginalized populations. Yet, inconsistent funding streams and shifting public health priorities have stymied development of a coordinated workforce. Nonetheless, evidence suggests that CHW roles are converging, and are considered a distinct health profession, rather than merely complements to public health interventions. Members of emerging professions are generally expected to pave the path for their own workforce advancement.  However, in at least one state another health profession oversees the CHW workforce.  It is possible that CHWs—who are often members of marginalized populations and low-wage earners may face difficulty in leading workforce development efforts in other areas of the country as well. Case studies from a few states highlight successful collaborations between CHWs and other stakeholders to make decisions about CHW training and credentialing, and to pass legislation to support CHWs. Objectives: The National Community Health Worker Advocacy Survey (n=1600) explores CHW engagement in professional advocacy. Methods: Through collaborative analysis, researchers and CHWs assessed the relationship between CHW professional advocacy and CHW demographics, and work characteristics.  Qualitative data articulated the quality of professional advocacy efforts.  Results: Approximately, 30% of CHW respondents advocated for their own professional advancement or collaborated with other CHWs to advance the workforce. Advocacy was more prevalent among CHWs affiliated with a professional network. CHW advocacy targeted recognition of the field, appropriate training and compensation, and sustainable funding. Conclusions: CHW professional advocacy is imperative to advancement of the field. CHW advocacy strategies will be shared.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe three ways in which CHWs advocate on behalf of their profession.

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

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the lead researcher for the 2014 National CHW Advocacy Survey and coordinated the analysis of the data.
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.