Community-Health-Worker-research-shows-need-for-professional-advocacy

Community Health Worker research shows need for professional advocacy

More than 1,700 Community Health Workers in 47 states participated in a recent survey that found their profession needs concerted advocacy efforts in order for it to thrive, according to a study recently published online in the Journal of Ambulatory Care Management.

The study is the largest survey of Community Health Workers (CHWs) to date and was led by the Arizona Prevention Research Center with contributions from the Tulane Prevention Research Center's Ashley Wennerstrom, collaborating faculty, and Catherine Haywood, community engagement program manager.

"This study shows the importance of creating opportunities for CHWs to develop as a profession and as individuals," Haywood said. "CHWs are the frontline workers for many health issues. So it's important that CHWs are recognized and supported by their employers, as well as by national, state, and local governments."

For the past 50 years, CHWs have been addressing health inequities among marginalized populations in communities all over the nation. Using the National Community Health Worker Advocacy Survey (NCHWAS), researchers at the University of Arizona and Tulane assessed CHW professional associations.

Historically members of emerging professions, CHWs in this case, are expected to promote their own workforce advancement. That advocacy was seen to be more prevalent in CHWs supported by a professional network or association.

Approximately one-third of the CHWs who participated in the survey have engaged in professional advocacy, and there is a strong correlation between that engagement and a membership in a CHW association. CHWs affiliated with a professional network were four times more likely to advocate on their behalf compared with non-members.

Additionally, the CHWs reported advocating for their profession in staff meetings, with local agencies, and at public health conferences. Many of the respondents felt other health professionals did not fully understand the role and impact of CHWs in a clinical setting or as a member of a health care team. And some respondents reported concerns about compensation and a lack of opportunities to advance into higher-paid positions. "My family earns below poverty level," one community health worker from Oregon reported in the survey. "I am part of the priority population so my work is always very real to me and my lived experiences."

"There is emerging evidence from around the country that CHWs can advocate for advancing the CHW workforce, and the American Public Health Association supports CHW self-determination," Wennerstrom said. "The best way to support CHWs in Louisiana is to encourage them to organize themselves and to ensure that they lead decision making regarding their workforce."

Click here to read more about the study in the Journal of Ambulatory Care Management.

By Kevin Crooks, graduate student, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

(Tulane PRC staff photo: Catherine Haywood, Tulane PRC community engagement program manager, speaks with a community member at a greenhouse celebration in 2012 for Good Food, an urban farm and small business in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood.)

Topics:   community health , policy , health communication

Other Related Posts

Evaluation-finds-value-in-culinary-programming-at-school-based-gardens-

Evaluation finds value in culinary programming at school-based gardens

Food Environment Research

Published: September 06, 2018

School-based kitchen garden programs across the country are known to improve fruit and vegetable knowledge and consumption among school children, but their value has not yet been well quantified using research methods. Evaluation of Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA), coordinated by the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC), sought to share how the whole school community – students, families, teachers, and neighbors – can participate in the growing, harvesting and sharing of food together as a…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Core Research

Published: September 06, 2018

My message this month is a conflicted one because we have both bad news and good news. It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the resignation of Keelia O'Malley, MPH, (pictured left) as Assistant Director of the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). Keelia has been an energetic PRC staff person who has performed 24/7 in her role as supervisor, office manager, grants researcher, community representative and more. Keelia first came to…

Read More

Seminars-to-feature-intersections-of-health-racism-and-communication

Seminars to feature intersections of health, racism, and communication

Education & Engagement

Published: September 04, 2018

A three-part series of public seminars at Tulane is teaching attendees how to communicate about the influence of racism on health by featuring prominent local leaders. "We hope attendees will learn new ways of addressing racism in their work by hearing from leaders working in different settings to further people's health," said Shokufeh Ramirez, Assistant Director of the Tulane Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (CEMCH). "The effects of racism are pervasive and,…

Read More

Legislative-Updates

Legislative Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: September 04, 2018

New Orleans Mayor appointments new city health chief In July, two months after taking office, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell named Jennifer Avegno, MD, to serve as the Director of the New Orleans Department of Health. A New Orleans native, Avegno previously served as the Director of the Division of Community Health Relations & Engagement at LSU Emergency Medicine. She also served in overlapping capacities as an academic faculty member and staff physician throughout New…

Read More

Community-Partner-Updates

Community Partner Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: September 02, 2018

See what our Community Advisory Board (CAB) members and partners have been up to recently! Click on the photo for a gallery of pictures, and read below for related updates. To find out more about our partners, click here to visit our Community Partners page. Bike Easy (Pictures 1-3) This September, Bike Easy and a coalition of partners are working with the City of New Orleans to install a 3-month “pop-up” demonstration of a connected,…

Read More

Walk-Bike-Places-international-conference-features-Tulane-PRC-mobile-workshops

Walk Bike Places international conference features Tulane PRC mobile workshops

Physical Activity Research

Published: September 01, 2018

In September, more than 1,000 professionals and advocates of walking, biking, and place-based improvements will visit New Orleans for the international conference Walk Bike Places. The Tulane Prevention Research Center will participate in the meeting by leading two morning bike-tour mobile workshops: Monday, Sept. 17, 2018: Neighborhood Storytelling Projects of New Orleans Bike Tour, featuring the Tulane PRC's community-based health promotion program Movin' for LIFE Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018: New Orleans Healthy Food Retail Bike…

Read More

Tulane-alum-takes-helm-of-international-food-and-cooking-education-nonprofit

Tulane alum takes helm of international food and cooking education nonprofit

Education & Engagement

Published: September 01, 2018

Recent Tulane graduate Robert Palestina has his sights set on taking The Cookbook Project, an international nonprofit based in New Orleans, to the next level. Palestina, Tulane SPHTM '18, took over as executive director this summer, after completing a 300-hour internship with the nonprofit in 2017. The internship was facilitated by the Tulane Prevention Research Center's Health Promotion Practicum Program, which matches community partners with public health interns. One of his responsibilities was helping the…

Read More

Team-Spotlight

Team Spotlight

Education & Engagement

Published: September 01, 2018

We had a productive summer thanks to our two outstanding graduate research assistants Emily Szklarski and Rosemary Kovacic. Emily Szklarski (pictured left) joined our staff in March 2018 as our Graduate Communications Research Assistant to work on our e-newsletters – Fitting New Orleans and Healthscaping – as well as maintaining our social media accounts and communications locally and nationally. This summer Emily collaborated with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine’s Nutrition Section…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-teams-up-with-Blue-Bikes-to-promote-university-discounts

Tulane PRC teams up with Blue Bikes to promote university discounts

Education & Engagement

Published: September 01, 2018

The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) is teaming up with New Orleans' bike-share program this September to encourage the use of short-term bike rentals and overall bike safety. Blue Bikes, the city's bike-share system, has created a special rate for university faculty, staff, and students. In order to promote this special rate, the Tulane PRC and Tulane Office of Sustainability are hosting a tabling event on Tulane's downtown campus. Local bike advocacy nonprofit Bike Easy…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-surveys-people-using-and-crossing-Lafitte-Greenway-linear-park

Tulane PRC surveys people using and crossing Lafitte Greenway linear park

Education & Engagement Physical Activity Research

Published: June 30, 2018

As New Orleans moves toward 'complete streets', organizations are taking a closer look at non-motorized transportation. More bicycle lanes and walking paths are being installed throughout the city so it is important that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists interact with each other safely. Over the past year, a Tulane team of faculty, staff, and students, have been studying safety and use along the Lafitte Greenway, one of these multi-use paths. The Lafitte Greenway is a 2.6-mile…

Read More

canary