Studying Executive Directors and Supervisors Views of Organizational and Policy-Level Challenges Faced by Community Health Workers

Authors: Rahbel Rahman, PhD; Abigail M. Ross, PhD, MPH; Sharon Chesna, MPA; Maya Rama Tatikola, MSW; Simone Hopwood, MSW
Year: 2021
State: NatDoc: National Document
Website link:
Publicly Available: No
Certification: CHW role scope of practice, Competencies, Training and training programs
Evidence Generation: Documentation of how CHWs can work within care teams, Results from pilots studies etc. that aren't published in formal literature, Surveys and assessment tools to define and develop workforce
Policy: General language around CHW WD, General other
Sustainable Financing: Including community-based CHWs, Education to HC orgs on payment options bundled etc., Documentation of how CHWs can work within care teams, Evidence-based interventions, Results from pilots studies etc. that aren't published in formal literature
Workforce Development: CHW training programs (not cert.), General other (including mention of “employment practices”), Outreach campaigns to identify CHWs, Recruiting and convening CHWs stakeholders

Within the United States, there is an absence of a national community health worker (CHW) program. There is substantial regional and state-based variability in the population served by CHWs, their disease focus, and availability of training, supervision, and other supports. This article seeks to respond to the call in the literature to work collaboratively with CHW professional associations to identify, reflect, and respond to CHW workforce development and sustainability issues. We partnered with 8 member organizations of the Association of Perinatal Networks of New York and conducted 2 focus groups with 7 executive directors and 6 supervisors. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Policy barriers included funding, accessibility of evidence-based practices, and credentialing. Organizational barriers included recruitment and high turnover and interorganizational referral processes and management. This study offers recommendations for supports needed to sustain CHWs, with an emphasis on greater investment in recruitment and training, higher compensation, and interorganizational collaboration.

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