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Executive Summary: Developing Common Indicators to Advance the CHW Workforce

Purpose/Background

In FY23, the Community Health Worker Common Indicators (CI) Project received a fourth and final year of funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD).[1] The purpose of the funding was to continue to promote the use of the Common Indicators through piloting and creation of a Guide to the Indicators. In addition, the Project sought to strengthen its CHW-led and community-based methodology, build project infrastructure, build towards a new identity as the CHW Center for Research and Evaluation, and share project accomplishments through a variety of mechanisms.


Methods

The collaborative methods or processes used to achieve objectives in FY23 included:

  • Development of a Guide to Using the CHW Common Indicators;

  • Webinar for states interested in conducting state-level surveys and using the Common Indicators;

  • Meetings with representatives from state-level and community-based organization pilot sites;

  • Documentation of the process through meeting notes and recordings of Zoom calls;

  • Identification of lessons learned through group and individual evaluations;

  • Ongoing engagement with and feedback from a national Advisory Group (AG), a CHW Council, and a Researchers Council (newly created in FY23);

  • Use of popular (people’s) education (PE) throughout the project to balance power and increase participation; and

  • Ongoing collaboration with colleagues at the CDC and NACDD.


Key Findings and Lessons Learned

  • In September 2023, the CI Project embraced a new name and larger scope of work, becoming the CHW Center for Research and Evaluation. Response to the new name indicates that there is strong support for a CHW-led organization that focuses on research and evaluation in the CHW field.

  • Statewide and national surveys of CHWs and employers are excellent venues for collecting data on all our workforce indicators (Indicators #1, 2, 4, 5, 10, and 12). Operationalizing the indicators in this way represents a kind of aggregation of data that is much easier to achieve than collecting the same data from multiple programs around the country.

  • We continue to identify discrepancies in the data collected from CHWs vs. data collected from employers on Indicator #1 (Compensation, Benefits and Advancement), specifically on the items that ask about benefits provided. CHWs generally perceive they are eligible for fewer benefits than what employers report. Though these contradictory data come from the same pilot site, the fact that we have seen similar results for two years running suggests that employers may need to communicate more clearly about benefits for which CHWs are eligible.

  • Results from two sites on the newly-created version of Indicator #9 (Retrospective Empowerment Related to Work with a CHW) suggest that this indicator may be a useful tool. It is unquestionably easier to collect than the original version, which required collecting baseline and follow-up data. The reliability and validity of this indicator need to be explored in projects with sufficient size and scope.

[1] Federal Award Number: 5-NU38OT000286-04, CFDA Number: 93.421.

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