Objectives: We tested the effectiveness of a culturally tailored, behavioral theory-based community health worker intervention for improving glycemic control.
Methods: We used a randomized, 6-month delayed control group design among 164 African American and Latino adult participants recruited from 2 health systems in Detroit, Michigan. Our study was guided by the principles of community-based participatory research. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level was the primary outcome measure. Using an empowerment-based approach, community health workers provided participants with diabetes self-management education and regular home visits, and accompanied them to a clinic visit during the 6-month intervention period.
Results: Participants in the intervention group had a mean HbA1c value of 8.6% at baseline, which improved to a value of 7.8% at 6 months, for an adjusted change of -0.8 percentage points (P < .01). There was no change in mean HbA1c among the control group (8.5%). Intervention participants also had significantly greater improvements in self-reported diabetes understanding compared with the control group.
Conclusions: This study contributes to the growing evidence for the effectiveness of community health workers and their role in multidisciplinary teams engaged in culturally appropriate health care delivery.