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Dobrzycka, Adriana U. (2008) APPLYING THE COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER MODEL TO THE IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE POPULATION IN PITTSBURGH, PA. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Community health workers (CHWs) are community natural helpers who serve as bridges between the health care system and their community, empowering individuals through access to information and social support that, in turn, enhances access to primary health services. This qualitative study sought to determine whether implementing a CHW program at a local healthcare provider, would be a feasible and desirable solution to address the unique health needs of immigrants and refugees living in Pittsburgh, PA. The study identifies the public health significance of community health workers as a means to improve immigrants and refugees' access to health services, enhance understanding of community needs and assets and increase community participation in defining appropriate solutions. This study conducted open-ended interviews with key staff from twelve agencies serving immigrants and refugees. Four national providers with established CHW programs participated in the study as well as key staff from eight Pittsburgh-based providers. While national providers gave insights into CHW logistics, local providers assessed their organizational capacity in responding to immigrant and refugee needs and stated their interest in CHW programming. The data was analyzed with qualitative data analysis tools. Study findings confirmed the positive impact of community-based advocacy efforts, such as CHW programs, resulting in stronger social networks and empowered immigrant and refugee community. However, CHW programs are resource-intensive initiatives that require continued community engagement in all stages of program planning and implementation as well as adequate compensation and professional development opportunities for CHWs.Pittsubrgh-based providers do not have the necessary resources of time, staff and funding to create their own CHW programs or to engage in collaborative community-based health advocacy programming. Although creating a CHW program might not be possible due to capacity constraints, Pittsburgh-based agencies should lay the groundwork for future community-based collaborations by engaging in information-sharing to learn from each other's experiences. By involving communities in these conversations, and adopting a strengths-based approach that identifies organizational and community-based resources, such a collaboration will pave the way to an optimization of service provision that maximizes the use of available resources and engages the consumers in addressing their own health needs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dobrzycka, Adriana; adrymcad4@gmail.comAUD2
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberKeane, Christopher Rcrkcity@pitt.eduCRKCITY
Committee MemberDocumet, Patriciapdocumet@pitt.eduPDOCUMET
Committee MemberNelson, Paul Jpjnelson@pitt.eduPJNELSON
Date: 28 September 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 August 2008
Approval Date: 28 September 2008
Submission Date: 31 July 2008
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: immigrants; refugees; Community health workers; Pittsburgh
Other ID:, etd-07312008-194939
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:55
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:47


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