Understanding the role of Community Health Workers through HyperRESEARCH

In volume 3, issue 3, Fall 2009, pp 227-235 of the journal of Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, Caricia E. C. Catalani, Sally E. Findley, Sergio Matos, and Romelia Rodriguez present their finding of a qualitative study using HyperRESEARCH in the article "Community Health Worker Insights on Their Training and Certification." The article describes how "In recent years, the community health worker (CHW) field has grown significantly in the United States, with increasing numbers, roles, and visibility of CHWs. State health department regulators, health program administrators, and community health advocates have observed this growth with uncertainty about the definition of a CHW, how CHW roles differ from those of other health professionals, CHW training needs, and the potential impact of the growing certification and accreditation regulations."

In their abstract for the article, the authors state further: "Despite the proliferation of regulatory policies, few studies have examined how regulation can most effectively support CHWs in the field. Our objective is to define CHW, identify training needs, and examine possibilities for credentialing from the perspective of CHWs in New York City. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) was used to engage CHW leadership and gather input from CHWs in the design and conduct of the study. The academic–community–state partnership designed focus group topic guides, and conducted fifteen focus groups with CHWs in New York City. The focus group responses were analyzed using HyperResearch and formed the basis for policy recommendations to the participating partners. We developed a consensus definition of CHW and its fundamental qualities. We identified unmet training needs in the area of core competencies. We outlined the characteristics of a credentialing process that would support and advance the work of CHWs. CBPR enabled CHWs to have a direct voice in defining their description, roles, training, and certification preferences. This informed policy recommendations to the state, university, and CHWs through a collaborative process."

The full article can be found here.