Integrating community health workers into primary care to support behavioral health service delivery: A pilot study

Ashley Wennerstrom, Leslie Hargrove, Shontel Minor, Angela L. Kirkland, Steven R. Shelton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Community health workers (CHWs) collaborating with health care teams improve health outcomes. The feasibility of employing CHWs to support behavioral health in primary care is unknown. We offered experienced CHWs a 48-hour behavioral health training and placed them at health centers. Supervisors received technical assistance to support integration. We interviewed team members to explore CHW interactions with patients and team members. There was evidence of CHW integration. Major CHW roles included care coordination, outreach, and screening. It may be feasible to integrate behavioral health-focused CHWs into primary care settings. Both CHWs and supervisors need ongoing training and support.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)263-272
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Ambulatory Care Management
    Volume38
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

    Keywords

    • Behavioral health
    • Community health workers
    • Mental health
    • Primary care

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health Policy

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