Congress logo
Back to Conference page

The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

The Use of Indigenous Community Health Workers to Promote Cessation Among African American Women in Public Housing: Which Roles are Effective?

Jeannette O. Andrews, PhD, APRN, BC, Health Environments and Systems, Medical College of Georgia, EB 204, School of Nursing, Augusta, GA 30912

Objective: The “Sister to Sister” Intervention has been developed by a nurse researcher, community advisory board, and community members to promote smoking cessation among African American women in public housing in the Southeastern US. A large component of the “Sister to Sister” Intervention is the use of indigenous community health workers (CHWs) who have worked in a variety of roles with the development, implementation, and evaluation of this community-based intervention.

Methods: Process and outcome evaluation findings from a series of studies including community surveys, focus groups, pilot intervention, and two community trials were used to evaluate the CHW roles with this overall “Sister” project. CHW roles have involved the following thematic areas: 1) outreach; 2) recruitment; 3) retention; 4) survey development; 5) curriculum development; 6) data collection; 7) social support; 8) behavioral counseling; and, 9) project director.

Results: CHWs, indigenous to the community in which they live, provide excellent support for community outreach, recruitment, and retention of subjects. With development of surveys and curricula, CHWs contribute to cultural appropriateness, literacy needs, and unique community “insider” knowledge. With training and supervision, CHWs can adequately collect data and provide ethnic appropriate social support to fellow community members. Although there has been success with CHWs leading behavioral counseling groups with women, the results have been less favorable than with a nurse cessation specialist conducting these behavioral counseling sessions. The abilities to manage a large community project depend on the skills, training, and supervision of the individual CHW.