July 1, 2017

2016 Writing Contest Graduate Winner: Cardiovascular Disease Training for Community Health Workers Serving Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Peoples

Chace D.I. Moleta, MS; Mele A. Look, MBA; Mililani K. Trask-Batti, MPH; Tricia Mabellos, DrPH; and Marjorie L. Mau, MD

Hawai’i Journal of Medicine & Public Health

To help community health workers (CHW) meet increased demand for their services, it is essential to have data supported strategies for approaches to their training and capacity development. The objective of this paper is to report on the development, implementation, and evaluation of “Heart 101,” a cardiovascular disease (CVD) training program, conducted among CHW in Hawai‘i who serve Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Peoples (NHPP). Principles from Community-Based Participatory Research provided a framework to develop and implement the 5-hour training curriculum. Developers incorporated teaching  strategies shown to be effective among learners that represent the majority of CHW, and included principles of adult learning theory and culture-based education. Training participants completed pre-, post-, and 6-months post-training knowledge tests, as well as demographic and participant satisfaction surveys. Data analysis based on pre- and post-training knowledge tests (n=30) indicated that Heart 101 significantly increased CVD knowledge by 32% (P < .001, t test). Long-term CVD competency measured at six-months post-training (n = 20) was also shown to be significant (P < .001, t test). Analysis of knowledge by subtopic suggested CHW strengths in clinical aspects of CVD and weaknesses in medical terminology and basic science aspects. These results, along with positive participant satisfaction, suggest that a culturally relevant and interactive course is a strong approach for CVD information dissemination to CHW serving NHPP communities, and provides insight on potential areas for special focus in their training. The demonstrated success of Heart 101 has positive implications for the standardization of CHW education and for their professional development.

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