Focus on the future: a community health worker research agenda by and for the field

Prog Community Health Partnersh. 2008 Fall;2(3):183-184, 225-35. doi: 10.1353/cpr.0.0025.


Problem: Research articles describing community health worker (CHW) programs often focus on program activities and short-term outcomes, failing to assess CHWs' long-term contributions to improving individual and community health. Reflecting this, CHWs are supported by short-term public and private funding.

Purpose: To inform policies that will potentially increase support and funding for CHW work, specific research is needed providing evidence of CHW effectiveness. This article describes the development of a CHW research agenda by and for the field.

Key points: CHWs, researchers, and stakeholders (policy makers, funders, others) collaborated during and after a conference to develop and refine a 164 question agenda targeting six areas (Table 1).

Conclusions: Key research areas identified by the agenda development participants include: * CHW impact on health status; * CHW cost effectiveness; * Building CHW capacity and sustaining CHWs on the job; * Funding options; * CHWs as capacity builders; and * CHWs promoting real access to care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services / trends*
  • Community Health Workers / trends*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Forecasting
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Research / trends*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires