Community health ambassadors: a model for engaging community leaders to promote better health in North Carolina

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2008 Nov;14 Suppl:S73-81. doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000338391.90059.16.


Despite public health efforts to address burden of diseases within communities such as diabetes, health disparities remain. Traditional lay health advisor models help address these issues. Yet, few, if any, have a statewide focus that includes education credit and involves broad-based partnerships. The Community Health Ambassadors Program (CHAP) is a training and education demonstration program designed to engage leaders from diverse communities to help eliminate health disparities in North Carolina. The program's current focus is on improving diabetes awareness, management, and prevention. CHAP involves multiple state and local community and healthcare professional partnerships, the community college system, and tribal, community-, and faith-based organizations. CHAP components include recruitment, training (classroom and interactive instruction, fieldwork, and continuing education credits), monitoring/evaluation, and support/education. Since CHAP's inception in June 2006, 146 community health ambassadors (CHAs) from 17 counties have been trained. Preliminary evaluation of the CHA community activities include one-on-one diabetes self-management tips, diabetes talks, and recruitment of citizens to sign healthy living pledges. CHAP may be a comprehensive and cost-effective model for promoting multilevel involvement of community leaders and diverse organizations to concentrate on diabetes health disparities within the state. CHAP will be implemented in the future to address the state's other prevailing health problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Community Networks
  • Education, Public Health Professional / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Health
  • North Carolina
  • Young Adult