Basic Science Research

Presentation Title (IN ALL CAPS)

CHALLENGES FACED BY SOUTH ASIAN IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

Departmental Affiliation and City, State, Zip for All Authors

School of Public Health, Fort Worth, TX, 76107; School of Public Health, Fort Worth, TX, 76107; School of Public Health Behavioral & Community Health, Fort Worth, TX 76107

Classification

SPH Student (For Competition)

Research Presentation Category

Basic Science Research

Brief Narrative or Summary

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers that can help improve access to care and health disparities among diverse populations. A focus group interview of South Asian immigrant women seeking CHW training discussed the challenges they face in helping their communities achieve a higher quality of life as well as the coping mechanisms they used to address those challenges and stressors. The insight of CHWs can be used to provide culturally tailored care to this quickly growing ethnic group in the U.S.

Scientific Abstract

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are traditionally individuals that serve the communities they come from. Through their skills and trainings in health education, advocacy, capacity building, and cultural competency, CHWs are frontline public health workers that can help improve access to care and overall health outcomes as well as enhance quality of life for underserved and diverse populations. These individuals have been shown to have positive impacts on the health and wellness of those they serve. However, little is known of the stressors, challenges, and coping mechanisms of CHWs serving the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S., immigrants from South Asia (SAALT, n.d.). A focus group with six South Asian immigrant women seeking training to serve as CHWs in their communities explored the stressors and challenges they face in helping their communities achieve a higher quality of life, along with their coping mechanisms for addressing those stressors. Four major themes emerged: motivation to become a CHW, challenges, coping mechanisms, and general comments about the CHW training. In regards to challenges, community-related factors relating to cultural barriers with changing lifestyle and eating habits were prominent sub-themes. These findings indicate that the CHWs are highly motivated individuals that want to improve the health of their community members, but are challenged with the task of changing cultural norms around lifestyle and food. The insight of the CHWs should be taken into account when addressing preventable health diseases among the South Asian immigrant population.

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CHALLENGES FACED BY SOUTH ASIAN IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are traditionally individuals that serve the communities they come from. Through their skills and trainings in health education, advocacy, capacity building, and cultural competency, CHWs are frontline public health workers that can help improve access to care and overall health outcomes as well as enhance quality of life for underserved and diverse populations. These individuals have been shown to have positive impacts on the health and wellness of those they serve. However, little is known of the stressors, challenges, and coping mechanisms of CHWs serving the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S., immigrants from South Asia (SAALT, n.d.). A focus group with six South Asian immigrant women seeking training to serve as CHWs in their communities explored the stressors and challenges they face in helping their communities achieve a higher quality of life, along with their coping mechanisms for addressing those stressors. Four major themes emerged: motivation to become a CHW, challenges, coping mechanisms, and general comments about the CHW training. In regards to challenges, community-related factors relating to cultural barriers with changing lifestyle and eating habits were prominent sub-themes. These findings indicate that the CHWs are highly motivated individuals that want to improve the health of their community members, but are challenged with the task of changing cultural norms around lifestyle and food. The insight of the CHWs should be taken into account when addressing preventable health diseases among the South Asian immigrant population.