Community Health Workers' Role in Addressing Farmworker Health Disparities
Harwell, E. L., LePrevost, C. E., Cofie, L. E., & Lee, J. G. L. (2022, February 25). JOURNAL OF AGROMEDICINE.
Community health workers (CHWs) are uniquely positioned to connect migrant and seasonal farmworkers to health promotion and clinical services. However, research on CHWs’ experiences, particularly related to their provision of health education to farmworkers, is limited. To explore CHWs’ practices and challenges in conducting health education outreach, we conducted three focus group discussions with farmworker health CHWs (N = 28) in North Carolina in the spring of 2020. We analyzed the focus group transcripts, and we compared the code outputs, thematic code summaries, and memos maintained throughout the analytic process to examine the experiences of CHWs in acquiring and disseminating health information and resources, including use of technology. We identified three themes related to CHWs’ experiences providing health information to farmworkers. First, CHWs described short-term preparation, immediately before providing health outreach, and long-term activities, devoted to maintaining and improving their capacity to provide relevant health information to farmworkers. Second, they described their use of health education delivery methods, including open-ended questions, participatory and interactive approaches, and non-verbal aids. Third, participants described their current use of technology and related challenges, as well as the technology needed to enhance health outreach, including internet access. Findings reveal opportunities to improve farmworker health education through professional development for CHWs, identification of preferred methods of health education delivery to farmworkers, and provision of technology to farmworker-serving organizations. Establishing rural internet access and equipping outreach organizations with technology would position CHWs to be maximally effective as they strive to reduce farmworkers’ health inequities.Abbreviations: CHW: Community health worker; FGD: focus group discussion; NC: North Carolina.