Recruitment, training outcomes, retention, and performance of community health advisors in two tobacco control interventions for Latinos

J Community Health. 2010 Apr;35(2):124-34. doi: 10.1007/s10900-009-9207-z.


Community Health Advisors (CHAs) are indigenous lay health advisors who, with training, can create health awareness, disseminate health information and support behavior change in their communities. Little data are available that describe the characteristics, recruitment, training, retention, and performance of CHAs. The present study described the characteristics, recruitment process, training outcomes, retention activities, and performance of two sets of CHAs who delivered tobacco-related interventions in the local Latino community. The Tobacco Control in Latino Communities (TCLC) Center trained 35 CHAs to conduct either a smoking cessation program for Spanish-speaking adult smokers or a behavioral problem-solving intervention to reduce environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure among low-income Latino children. Theoretical psychosocial constructs related to behavior change, general self-esteem, general self-efficacy, and demographics were collected from CHAs before and after training. Additional measures captured the level of professionalism exercised and effort undertaken by the CHAs, as well actual outcomes of their efforts. Of the 33 women and 2 men CHAs recruited, 86% were originally from Mexico, most had a high school education, most were married, and the average monthly household income was $1,100-$1,400. Mean participant age was 42 years, and level of acculturation was relatively low. There were changes in the desired direction pre-to-post training for both ETS and smoking cessation program CHAs for most of the psychosocial constructs. Expert ratings of CHA performance were good, and recipients of the CHAs' efforts showed positive changes in behavior. This information may aid in planning for recruitment and evaluation of CHAs for future tobacco control programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • California
  • Community Health Planning
  • Community Health Services*
  • Community Health Workers / education*
  • Community Health Workers / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personnel Selection
  • Program Evaluation
  • Smoking / ethnology*
  • Smoking Cessation / ethnology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Workforce


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution