Community Health Worker Training Curricula and Intervention Outcomes in African American and Latinx Communities: A Systematic Review

Health Educ Behav. 2021 Aug;48(4):516-531. doi: 10.1177/1090198120959326. Epub 2020 Oct 14.


In recent years, community health workers (CHWs) have emerged as key stakeholders in implementing community-based public health interventions in racially diverse contexts. Yet little is known about the extent to which CHW training curriculums influence intervention effectiveness in marginalized racial and ethnic minority communities. This review summarizes evidence on the relationship between CHW training curricula and intervention outcomes conducted among African American and Latinx populations. We conducted a literature search of intervention studies that focused on CHW public health interventions in African American and Latinx populations using PubMed, PsycINFO, ERIC, CINAHL, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases. Included studies were quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies employed to conduct outcome (e.g., blood pressure and HbA1c) and process evaluations (e.g., knowledge and self-efficacy) of CHW-led interventions. Out of 3,295 articles from the database search, 36 articles met our inclusion criteria. Overall, the strength of evidence linking specific CHW training curricula components to primary intervention health outcomes was weak, and no studies directly linked outcomes to specific characteristics of CHW training. Studies that described training related to didactic sessions or classified as high intensity reported higher percentages of positive outcomes compared to other CHW training features. These findings suggest that CHW training may positively influence intervention effectiveness but additional research using more robust methodological approaches is needed to clarify these relationships.

Keywords: African American; Latinx; community health workers; health behavior; health disparities; health promotion; training curriculum.