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Rural Health Information Hub

Screening and Health Educator Model

In this model, community health workers (CHWs) deliver screenings and health education to the target population. CHWs may provide health education related to disease prevention and healthy behaviors. Examples of health education topics include:

  • Chronic disease prevention
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Smoking cessation
  • Stress management
  • Health screenings
  • Pesticide safety and environmental hazards

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends interventions that engage CHWs for diabetes prevention and management, cardiovascular disease prevention, and screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. The evidence reviewed by the CPSTF includes interventions that have engaged CHWs as health education providers.

CHWs may also play an important role in educating healthcare providers about community needs, bridging cultural gaps between providers and communities.

Examples of Rural Screening and Health Education Models

  • In Ely, Minnesota, through the Northern Lights Clubhouse (NLC), a CHW provides outreach and follow-up services to connect behavioral health clients to a community care team. The CHW develops educational programming, provides employment support, and works to reduce isolation among clients.
  • Community health representatives at the Laguna Pueblo in Laguna, New Mexico implement the Tribal Home Based Kidney Care Project to conduct screenings and provide health education to community members with diabetes who are at increased risk or have started experiencing kidney disease related to their diabetes.

Implementation Considerations

CHWs often attend trainings on cultural competency so that they may provide health education that is effective for the population they are serving and sensitive to patients' values and experiences. In particular, CHW programs serving populations in tribal or border communities must ensure their CHWs deliver culturally appropriate health education and nutrition information. CHWs delivering health education in an outreach situation such as home visiting will also need additional training to ensure that they understand the scope of their work, the steps to take in case of an emergency, and how to keep themselves and their patients safe.

Program Clearinghouse Examples

Resources to Learn More

Health Education Materials
Offers tools tailored for various racial and ethnic communities that CHWs can use when providing education on heart health.
Organization(s): National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Personal Health Diary
Provides a personal health weekly diary that allows a person to track their blood pressure, steps per day, sodium intake, fruits, vegetables, stress management activities, and medications.
Organization(s): Clemson University
Date: 2006

The Role of CHWs in Combatting Colorectal Cancer
Provides a variety of information and resources about CHW interventions that can be applied to reduce health disparities in colorectal, breast, lung, and cervical cancers.
Organization(s): Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance
Date: 2015

Use of Community Health Workers and Patient Navigators to Improve Cancer Outcomes among Patients Served by Federally Qualified Health Centers: A Systematic Literature Review
Describes a variety of interventions that use CHWs and/or patient navigators to promote screening for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer and to engage patients with their providers to reach a diagnostic resolution.
Author(s): Roland, K.B., Milliken, E.L., Rohan, E.A., et al.
Citation: Health Equity, 1(1) 61-76
Date: 5/2017