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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Texas A&M: Study Finds Utilization of Community Health Workers Aids in Improving Health Outcomes Among Children with Chronic lung disease

A study led by Juha Baek, a doctoral student at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, found that home-based education provided by community health workers (CHWs) effectively improved health outcomes among children in communities lacking access to medical resources. The study was conducted in Hidalgo County, TX, which has high childhood asthma rates.

Nearly 300 children and their families, of whom 97 percent were Hispanic, were separated into two groups: an intervention group that received educational materials and face-to-face mtgs with a CHW at home and a control group that only received educational materials. Families in both groups were also given allergen-proof mattresses and pillow cases.

The intervention group was provided home-based asthma education based on the Asthma and Healthy Homes curriculum to teach the families how to more effectively manage their children’s asthma and create healthier home environments.

CHWs referenced the Asthma and Healthy homes curriculum and contents of the Seven Principles of Healthy Homes. The components included: asthma signs and symptoms, asthma management, identifying common asthma triggers, correct use of asthma medications, emergency actions in case of asthma attacks, and fundamental components of an asthma action plan.

Research results concluded that home-based education by CHWs from the local area had a significant effect on the improvement of health outcomes — including the number of asthma attacks and a family’s emotional health — among children in communities lacking access to medical resources. Since the CHWs were from the area, they spoke the language and knew the culture, which in turn helped to put the families at ease. Expanding such programs in low-income communities could help address health disparities and improve the health outcomes of children with asthma.

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