Success with CHWs Asthma

Address disparities

TwoYoungKidsAccording to the 2007 Community Health Worker National Workforce Study published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CHWs help address racial/ethnic disparities in healthcare through:

  • Improved access to health care services
  • Increased health and screening
  • Better understanding between community members and the health and social service system
  • Enhanced communication between community members and health providers
  • Increased use of health care services
  • Improved adherence to health recommendations
  • Reduced need for emergency and specialty services

Here are some specific examples of how CHWs have helped reduce asthma disparities:

Published in 2012, Improving Asthma Management among African-American Children via a Community Health Worker Model: Findings from a Chicago-Based Pilot Intervention evaluated a CHW model for effectiveness in reducing asthma morbidity and improving the quality of life among African-American children living in disadvantaged Chicago neighborhoods.  Findings indicated symptom frequency was reduced by 35% and urgent health resource utilization by 75% between the pre- and post-intervention periods. Parental quality of life also improved, and other important outcomes included improved asthma-related knowledge, decreased exposure to asthma triggers, and improved medical management. The intervention was also shown to be cost-effective, resulting in an estimated $5.58 saved per dollar spent on the intervention.

For a deeper examination of this topic, consider reading Urban Health: Combating Disparities with Local Data. This book provides a model for combating health disparities by describing how local health information was gathered, with the community engaged at every step of the process, creating movement toward evidence-based sustainable change.  It includes a discussion of pediatric asthma in Black and Latino Chicago communities.

Asthma Community Network Podcast

This podcast episode highlights the vital role of a Community Health Worker (CHW) in serving populations with the largest disparities in asthma outcomes. A mother, an asthma program manager, and a CHW describe the most important gaps that are bridged between home and clinic settings when a CHW is involved. Listen online.

Minority Kids With Asthma Likely To Miss Days of School