Community Health Worker Leadership In Louisiana, During and After Hurricane Katrina

Authors: Haywood C, Feist D, Sugarman M, and Ezouah P
Year: 2020
State: LA
Website link:
Publicly Available: Yes
Certification: CHW role scope of practice, Competencies
Sustainable Financing: Expand evidence base
Workforce Development: Chronic Disease, Data sharing between social services and clinical teams, General other (including mention of “employment practices”)

Community health workers (CHWs) have been building capacity among underresourced populations in the United States for decades by addressing health inequity and its underlying social determinants. In 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Greater New Orleans, Louisiana area, bringing massive infrastructure damage and loss of life. A complex series of political and social issues followed, leaving close to half of the city’s residents displaced a year later.2 Those who returned struggled to rebuild their homes, enroll their children in a newly privatized school system,3 live in increasingly gentrified neighborhoods,4 navigate a fragmented health care system,5 and grieve the loss of entire communities. CHWs not only supported recovery from the devastation but also learned important lessons through organizing themselves into a professional association to support their growing workforce and influence policy.

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