Community Health Workers (CHWs) who are otherwise known as lay health workers and community health educators in Asian communities, have been providing community/home-based health care in Chicago for several years. CHWs share similar backgrounds, language, and cultural identity with other members of their communities. They have an inside understanding of the barriers patients experience with respect to health education and access to service delivery. They are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of and/or have an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables CHWs to serve as a liaison, link, or intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.
Asian CHWs working within community-based organizations (CBOs) settings in Chicago lack theoretically-guided training around core CHW competencies in a cultural and linguistically concordant manner. It is therefore essential that Asian CHWs become members of the diabetes team in order to (i) serve a pivotal role in improving patient empowerment and self-management; (ii) provide numerous health-related services to help better navigate underserved and limited-English speaking individuals for access to care; and, finally, (iii) serve as patient advocates in their community-based setting.
Asian American Communities in Metropolitan Chicago
Chinese American Service League
Korean American Community Services
Sinai Urban Health Institute
AHC is piloting an evidence-based and culturally adapted training curriculum for Asian CHWs. Working with Sinai Urban Health Institute, the initial demonstration project is focused around diabetes self-management practices (DSMP). Training Asian CHWs to become members of the diabetes team can overcome many barriers to care for Asian immigrant and refugee communities, including cultural, language, financial, and community issues. Additionally, trained CHWs can serve a role in improving patient empowerment and self-management, and they can provide numerous health-related services to prepare for the implementation of the ACA in 2014 to help better navigate individuals to care e.g. assessment of diabetes maintenance and self-care, patient education, and completion of recommended exams, e.g. A1c screenings and diabetes foot exams. Trained CHWs can become patient advocates in their community-based setting. Finding ways to rigorously train CHWs in diabetes care and education is a critical step in mobilizing this important force multiplier. Through this project, it is envisioned that the Asian community-based organizations which employ CHWs will not only be able to sustain CHWs efforts in conducting health education and outreach in a racial and language concordant manner, but also be able to monitor CHW activities under a consistent set of guidelines supported by current research and policy
This multi-year project is funded from 2013-2015 with generous support from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, and Crown Family Philanthropies.
(1) Build community and organizational capacity to address diabetes in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner through partner agency staff CHWs in DSMP;
2) I Improve diabetes self-management practices, and self-confidence among target community members attending DSMP workshop sessions led by CHWs;
3) Create systemic change with strengthened care coordination between CHWs and diabetes medical management team through creation of partnerships with health service delivery systems (hospitals, clinics), and improved patient navigation with the aim of developing pathways for follow-up treatment and care; and
4) Document partner and community acceptance of the CHW-led DMSP program and lessons learned for potential dissemination and replication of the CHW-led DSMP curriculum for culturally and linguistically competent diabetes education in other underserved Asian communities.
For more information please contact 312.372.7070