The use of community health workers (CHW) dates back to the 1800s. The impetus for these workers today is to provide peer support largely in poor or under-served communities since these communities typically suffer disparities in health care access, in the quality of health care delivery and consequently experience higher morbidity and mortality rates. The ACA via the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is supporting CHW demonstration projects, states are testing their use via Medicaid programming and various providers are using CHW to improve self management support among high health care service utilizers.
During this 20 minute conversation, Dr. Fisher discusses the reasons why the use of CHW is increasing, who they are and how they're trained, in what provider setting they work, their level of success, how they're accepted by clinicians and patients and how their services are reimbursed.
Dr. Edwin Fisher is a University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health Professor and serves as Global Director for the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation's Peers for Progress program. Peers for Progress promotes peer support in health, health care and prevention around the world. From 2002 to 2009 Dr. Fisher served as National Program Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Diabetes Initiative. Dr. Fisher has published widely in prevention, chronic disease management and quality of life addressing asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, smoking and weight management. He is past-president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and has served as a board member for the International Society of Behavioral Medicine and the American Lung Association. He was graduated from the SUNY, Stony Brook with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Information on Peers for Progress is at: peersforprogress.org.