Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World



Institute of Medicine Discussion Paper on Community Health Workers

Clayton Velicer, MPH

In the past month, we’ve seen an increase in news coverage of Community Health Workers (CHWs) as they take on bigger roles in the US healthcare system. A feature in Modern Healthcare highlighted successful CHWs programs in Minnesota, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Florida became the latest state to establish certification for CHWs.

On February 4th, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a discussion paper on CHWs. In this blog, we take a look at the benefits and implementation challenges outlined in this paper.
Community Health Workers Save Costs
The authors of the IOM paper cite that CHWs save costs for providers. For example, CHWs produced a return on investment of 4:1 when working with children with asthma and a return on investment of 3:1 for Medicaid enrollees with unmet long-term care needs.

According to the authors, if the cost savings for CHWs were the “results for a clinical trial for a drug, we would likely see pressure for fast…


The Expanding Role for Promotores in Health Reform: NCLR Annual Conference Highlights

Patrick Yao Tang, MPH

Each year, the National Council of La Raza hosts a sprawling conference to promote positive social change for the betterment of the Hispanic community. The event brings together influential leaders, organizations, institutions, and companies to tackle the most pressing issues facing the Hispanic community, from community empowerment to immigration to education to health. This year’s theme, “Rise as One”, highlights ascension to better opportunities, respect, and awareness with respect to the improved image, position, and power of the Hispanic community. It serves as a call for unity within communities of color and a challenge to climb upwards together.

The 2013 NCLR Annual Conference was held from July 20-23 in New Orleans, LA. Over four days, attendees took part in Town Hall discussions, luncheons, and over 50 workshops on 11 tracks. On the final day of the conference, attendees lined up for hours for a chance to see First Lady Michelle Obama…


Scale Up and Sustainability of CHW Programs

Melissa Mayer, MPH Candidate

Pallas and colleagues (2013) systematically reviewed the evidence for sustainability and scale-up of community health worker (CHW) programs in low- and middle-income countries, revealing several major challenges to systematically evaluating scale-up and sustainability efforts. Definitions of sustainability vary widely, and comparing scale-up efforts across programs, sites, and countries is difficult. Comparability across CHW programs and countries is particularly challenging; a program considered large-scale and sustained in one country might be viewed as small-scale or short-term in another setting. With these challenges in mind, the researchers developed four questions to guide selection of relevant studies:

Does the article specifically address factors related to the diffusion, dissemination, or scale-up of the CHW program from one geographical setting to another?
Does the article specifically address factors related to the diffusion,…

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