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Documenting Community Health Worker Roles in Primary Care: Contributions to Evidence-Based Integration Into Health Care Teams, 2015

Reinschmidt, Kerstin M. PhD, MPH; Ingram, Maia MPH; Morales, Stephanie MPH; Sabo, Samantha J. DrPH, MPH; Blackburn, John MA; Murrieta, Lucy BS; David, Cassalyn MPH; Carvajal, Scott C. PhD, MPH

Journal of Ambulatory Care Management: October/December 2017 - Volume 40 - Issue 4 - p 305–315
doi: 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000178
Original Articles

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provided community health workers (CHWs) with new opportunities, and current efforts develop evidence-based guidelines for CHW integration into clinical teams. This qualitative study documents CHW roles and activities in 3 federally qualified health care centers in southern Arizona. Community health worker clinical roles, activities, and integration varied by health center and were in flux. Integration included complementary roles, scheduled and everyday communications with team members, and documentation in the electronic health records. These findings contribute to evidence-based guidelines for CHW integration into clinical teams that are critical to maximizing CHW contributions to patient health improvements.

Health Promotion Sciences, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson (Drs Reinschmidt, Carvajal, and Sabo and Mss Ingram and Morales); El Rio Community Health Center, Tucson, Arizona (Mr Blackburn); Sunset Community Health Center, Somerton, Arizona (Ms Murrieta); and Mariposa Community Health Center, Nogales, Arizona (Ms David).

Correspondence: Kerstin M. Reinschmidt, PhD, MPH, Health Promotion Sciences, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724 (kerstin@email.arizona.edu).

We thank our community health center partners and their staff for participating in the study.

This study was supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number, 1U48DP005002, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

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