Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke-Focused Competency Assessment Tools for Community Health Workers in the United States: A Scoping Review

Authors: Dr. Janhavi Mallaiah, MD, MPH, MA, EdD, Dr. Reynaldo De Leon Jr., EdD, MS, CHES, Dr. Olajide Williams, MD, MS, Dr. John P. Allegrante, PhD
Year: 2022
State: NY
Website link:
Publicly Available: Yes
Certification: CHW role scope of practice, Competencies
Evidence Generation: Evidence-based interventions
Policy: General language around CHW WD
Sustainable Financing: Documentation of how CHWs can work within care teams, Surveys and assessment tools to define and develop workforce
Workforce Development: Training- Content modes delivery

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke are major contributors to chronic disease burden in the United States. Despite the high prevalence of stroke, 90% of all stroke events are preventable and can be attributed to seven key modifiable risk factors (MRFs)—high blood pressure (BP), high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus (DM), smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity. In the United States, stroke prevention interventions led by community health workers (CHWs) have been proven to be highly effective in preventing the onset of MRFs. We conducted a scoping review of the competency assessment methods used in CVD and stroke-focused CHW training programs. We searched six online databases: PubMed, Cochrane, CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science, and HaPI, from all available years until January 2021. Of the 1,774 initial articles found, we identified 30 eligible articles to be included in the review. Nine of these studies used previously validated instruments, whereas the remaining 21 studies used tools from the training curriculum or independently developed instruments. Only five of these validated tools reported psychometric properties; none of them were designed for the CHW population. Our scoping review of literature revealed that CHW-specific competency assessment methods were limited, with few or no domain-referenced tools on CVD or stroke risk factors that complied with established measurement standards. We conclude that there is an urgent need for the development of a comprehensive and valid assessment instrument in CVD and stroke prevention to evaluate CHW performance and optimize their credibility, representing important first steps toward integrating CHWs into health care systems.

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