New Faces of the Complex Care Workforce: Reflecting and Connecting with Patients


An exciting trend in complex care is how its workforce has evolved to better address patient needs. Today, organizations increasingly recognize the value of employing individuals who share experiences with the patients they serve, and who can provide a more personal approach to engagement and care coordination. Those experiencing substance use disorder, homelessness, and/or mental illness, for example, may feel stigmatized and alone, and often face numerous obstacles to accessing health care. However, with support from an individual who has “been there,” many patients can receive more consistent, coordinated care, and achieve improved health outcomes.

The New Faces of the Complex Care Workforce series, developed by the Center for Health Care Strategies, features individuals working at complex care programs across the nation. These profiles explore the role of these “non-traditional health workers,” the types of patient populations they have successfully engaged, and the challenges of sustaining these types of programs. Their titles vary — community health worker, care navigator, community paramedic, peer specialist — but the core benefit they provide to patients is the same: a knowledgeable care provider, often with lived experience, and an advocate for better health.


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What timing! I was just reading the APHA call for abstracts - specifically for CHWs!  Here is more information: 
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA's 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo - 

Community Health Workers

Meeting theme: Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health

Submission Deadline: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

To learn more click HERE or scroll down! 

The Community Health Worker (CHW) Section welcomes abstracts that address issues relevant to CHWs (who go by various titles, including promotores, community health advisors and outreach workers) and the communities they serve in relationship to health and wellness across the lifespan. We encourage submissions to tie in this year's theme, "Creating the Healthiest Nation: For Science. For Action. For Health”

Invitation to Submit:

Because our section highly encourages CHW leadership in the development and presentation of scientific oral, roundtable, and/or poster sessions, please describe within the text of the abstract whether CHWs will be presenting and/or the role CHWs played in the development of the presentation. Limited travel assistance through the Sewell Foundation may be available for CHW presenters. Please contact the CHW program planner by March 2018 for more details on timeline and deadline dates.

Additionally, we encourage students, members of other sections, caucuses and SPIGs to submit relevant abstracts to the CHW Section and look forward to working collaboratively to strengthen APHA’s commitment to community health and CHWs.

Abstracts, both domestic and international, will be considered, based on the content outlined below.

- Please be conscious of power dynamics implicit in your language. We discourage the use of phrases like “using CHWs” or “our CHWs,” especially if you are not a CHW yourself. Instead, try saying “employing or partnering with CHWs” and “our CHW colleagues,” or “the CHWs on our team.”

- Abstracts submitted for presentations in other languages are welcome (we cannot guarantee translation services; however, we will work with the presenter to set up translation whenever possible). Abstracts, however, must be submitted in English.

- Presentations that are interactive and participatory in nature and use adult education techniques are especially encouraged. Please include this information in your abstract to assist in reviewers in scoring your abstract appropriately.

- Abstracts should be 250 words or less, emphasizing the relevance to CHW practice and/or policy, and should address how the information to be presented can be applied in other settings.

- Abstracts should also contain a brief but direct summary of what is to be presented. Specific attention will be given to goals and objectives, methodology, evaluation tools and findings, and CHW leadership throughout the process and presentation. 

We are particularly interested in abstracts and session proposals that address the following:

  • CHW Efforts to Promote International Health 
  • CHW Leadership, Networks & Certification 
  • CHW Workforce Policy & Research 
  • CHWs as Change Agents to Reduce Health Disparities 
  • Innovative CHW Training and Interprofessional Education 
  • Joint Session- Community Health Workers in Public Health Education & Health Promotion 
  • Mobilizing CHWs to Address Mental Health and/or Substance Use 
  • Policy & System Changes to Support the CHW Model & Workforce 
  • Sustainable Funding Models for the CHW Workforce 


CHW Participation: We would encourage you to view abstracts from previous years for format and content examples. Because we are actively seeking to increase CHW participation in our scientific sessions, please clearly state if a CHW is a presenter. Abstract reviewers cannot see author lists and will not know if CHWs are involved in abstract writing or presenting unless it is stated in the abstract body.  If relevant, we encourage you to clearly describe the participation of CHWs in the development of the abstract in abstract body. 

We acknowledge that due to funding constraints, not all CHW authors will be able to travel to present an accepted abstract. As stated above, limited travel assistance through the Sewell Foundation may be available for CHW presenters. Please contact the CHW program planner by March 2018 for more details on timeline and deadline dates.

Presentation Format: Additionally, please describe the presentation format if unique and if the anticipated number of presenters if greater than one. The CHW Section will organize a minimum of 6 – 8 oral sessions, 2 poster sessions and 2 roundtable sessions as well as a rapid-fire 3-minute-thesis session. If you are interested in a roundtable or 3-minute-thesis presentation, please indicate so in the abstract body and in the notes section as they are note options in the submission system.

JOINT SESSION NOTICE: Community Health Workers in Public Health Education and Health Promotion (organized jointly with the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section)

The PHEHP and CHW sections are seeking abstracts related to interdisciplinary approaches among CHWs and public health entities to deliver health education and to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors and chronic disease self-management practices as a means of prevention and treatment in high-risk or diseased populations.  Priority will be given to abstracts with a primary focus on: (1) the theme of the 2018 meeting, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now”; (2) models/frameworks of successful collaborations between CHW and public health or medical professionals to integrate CHWs into preexisting public health services and/or medical practices; and/or (3) the role of CHWs in the delivery/maintenance of clinical care and chronic disease self-management. Abstracts will be accepted and reviewed by both the CHW and PHEHP sections to create a collaborative session between section participants and other APHA attendees.