Organizational environments may encourage community health workers (CHWs) to engage community members in improving their communities, according to a study by researchers at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
Lead researcher Dr. Kerstin M. Reinschmidt, assistant professor of health promotion sciences and colleagues at the Arizona Prevention Research Center conducted open-ended interviews and focus groups to explore how participation in the Acción intervention, which trained CHWs in community advocacy, affected organizational capacity to support their CHWs. The study was published in the Journal of Ambulatory Care Management.
Supervisors described improved organizational recognition and trust of CHWs. Organizational leaders reported organizational benefits and increased appreciation of CHW leadership. Both expressed increased interest in future advocacy trainings. Limiting factors included organizational mission, CHW position descriptions, and funding.
Findings indicate that, with training and funding, CHW community advocacy can be integrated into organizations with congruent missions.