Latino Community Health Workers and the Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health

Julia Lechuga, Dina Garcia, Jill Owczarzak, Maria Barker, Meghan Benson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Community health worker (CHW) programs have existed for over 50 years across the world. However, only recently has research evidence documented their effectiveness. Research is still needed to identify issues related to implementation and sustainability of CHW programs. This article explores the role and challenges of U.S. Latino CHWs trained to deliver a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health educational intervention to Latino families. We conducted a semistructured interview with a purposive convenience sample of 19 CHWs. Findings suggest that CHWs occupy roles that go beyond those they were trained for. CHWs serve not only as educators but also as providers of social support, facilitators of access to resources, patient navigators, and civil rights advocates. Lack of clarity of the role of a CHW influenced perceptions of adequacy of compensation, training, and integration into the agency that trained them. Policy facilitating the standardization of the CHW occupational category and role expectations is imperative to ensure successful implementation and sustainability of U.S. CHW programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-344
Number of pages7
JournalHealth promotion practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 9 2015


  • Latinos
  • community health workers
  • promotores de salud
  • sexual and reproductive health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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