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Keywords

community health workers; advocacy; action learning; training; social ecological model; health disparities

Abstract

Community health workers (CHWs) make unique and important contributions to society. They serve as patient advocates, educators, and navigators in our health care system and a growing body of research indicates that they play an important role in the effective delivery of prevention and treatment services in underserved communities. CHWs also serve as informal community leaders and advocates for organizational and community change, providing valuable insiders' insights about health promotion and the interrelatedness of individuals, their community, its institutions, and the surrounding environment. Accion Para La Salud or Action for Health (Accion) is a CDC-funded community based participatory research (CBPR) project addressing the social determinants of health affecting health-related behaviors with the ultimate goal of creating a mode in which community advocacy to address the systems and environmental factors influencing health is integrated into the role of CHWs working in chronic disease prevention. Kingdon's three streams theory and the social ecological model provide an overarching conceptual framework for Accion. The curriculum and training are also grounded in the theory and principles of action learning, which emphasizes learning by doing, teamwork, real-world projects, and reflection. The curriculum was delivered in four workshops over thirteen months and included longitudinal team projects, peer support conference calls, and technical assistance visits. It is now being delivered to new groups of CHWs in Arizona using a condensed two-day workshop format.

Permissions

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