Identifying Medication Management Confidence and Gaps in Training Among Community Health Workers in the United States

J Community Health. 2019 Dec;44(6):1180-1184. doi: 10.1007/s10900-019-00688-9.


Community Health Workers (CHWs) are a group of trained health professionals who advocate for members within their communities on social and health care issues. CHWs are increasingly utilized due to their affordability, accessibility, and ability to relate to patients. Evaluating CHW medication management practices, confidence, and training gaps may provide a better understanding of medication management training needs. The purpose of this cross-sectional survey was to assess CHW confidence in medication management, describe medication management services, and identify areas of focus to improve CHW medication management training. A 32-item survey was administered to CHWs in Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, and Oregon through their state's CHW email listservs. The survey content covered four domains: (1) demographic information, (2) work history, (3) experience with medication management and (4) CHW training including specific questions regarding medication management training. Two free-response questions assessed whether medication management training was beneficial and gathered suggestions for medication management-specific training. A total of 77 CHWs completed the survey of which, 90.9% were female, 38.9% worked as CHWs between 1 and 3 years, and 89.6% received instate CHW training. Over three-fourths of respondents (79.2%) provide medication management-related services and 57.1% rate their confidence in medication management as 'poor' or 'fair.' CHWs reported a need for additional medication management training within CHW certificate and continuing education programs. CHWs provide medication management services but have low confidence in their ability to provide such services. A greater emphasis on medication management training should be included in CHW certificate and continuing education programs.

Keywords: Community health worker; Health care workforce; Medication management; Training and education.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Workers* / education
  • Community Health Workers* / standards
  • Community Health Workers* / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Therapy Management* / standards
  • Medication Therapy Management* / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology