An integrative review of community health advisors in type 2 diabetes

J Community Health. 2011 Oct;36(5):883-93. doi: 10.1007/s10900-011-9381-7.


The purpose of this paper was to report findings from an integrative literature review conducted to identify the theoretical basis of interventions for studies using community health advisors; populations and settings served by community health advisors; characteristics, training, and roles and activities of community health advisors; and the effectiveness of interventions by community health advisors for improving self-management of patients living with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Community health advisors' theoretical interventions were based on providing culturally appropriate care and resolution of health disparities within minority populations. Typically community health advisors were patients themselves living with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Major roles of community health advisors included: supporter, educator, case manager, advocate, and program facilitator. Activities of community health advisors were: coordinating educational programs, conducting educational courses for patients, serving as a link between patients and healthcare professionals, providing counseling, and leading peer support meetings. The effectiveness of interventions by community health advisors was mixed. Examples of outcome criteria were improvements in: knowledge, hemoglobin A1C, low density lipoprotein levels, blood pressure, and physical activity. Community health advisors provide culturally appropriate interventions to promote and restore health and prevent diseases while serving as links between community and healthcare providers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Health Workers / organization & administration*
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Self Care*
  • Treatment Outcome