Abstract 18996: Community Health Workers’ Roles in Facilitating Adoption of Heart Healthy Behaviors
BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular health disparities are pervasive and disproportionately affect ethnic minority groups. An innovative approach to addressing these health issues involves the use of community health workers (CHWs) - laypeople from within their communities, who share common characteristics with their clients (e.g. ethnicity, culture, race, and language). Specifically trained in providing basic nutrition and health services, CHWs, aim to improve health outcomes and access through a set of core skills, (advocacy, outreach, and education), and function in multiple roles from bridging communication between patients and providers, to providing health education, counseling, and monitoring health status. In the context of an on-going RCT (Project AsPIRE) determining the effect of a culturally and linguistically appropriate CHW intervention upon HTN outcomes among immigrant Filipinos, the purpose of this qualitative study was to develop an explanatory model of CHWs’ roles in facilitating the adoption of heart healthy behaviors (diet, exercise, medication adherence, appointment keeping).
METHODS: Recruitment letters and follow-up telephone calls to 113 past AsPIRE participants, and AsPIRE CHWs, and their trainers produced a final sample of 26 respondents. Using Corbin & Strauss’ methods for Grounded Theory, data from 26 one-on-one interviews (with clients, CHWs, and their trainers) were triangulated with document and client chart reviews to generate themes that form the basis of this model.
RESULTS: CHWs influence the adoption of heart healthy behaviors through 4 key functions: (1) leveraging their cultural congruence with clients, (2) employing interpersonal communication techniques to build trust and rapport, (3) providing social support (appraisal, emotional, informational, instrumental), and (4) assisting with health behavior change.
CONCLUSION: Including CHWs as part of the health care team begins to address some key challenges to hypertension control among immigrant Filipinos, an ethnic group with high CVD risk. Further testing of this model with other ethnic groups is warranted.
- Community-based care
- Cardiovascular disease prevention
- Healthcare delivery systems
Author Disclosures: C. Katigbak: None. N. Van Devanter: None. C. Trinh-Shevrin: None. N. Islam: None. D. Chyun: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.