Community Health Workers Promote Civic Engagement and Organizational Capacity to Impact Policy

Samantha Sabo, Melissa Flores, Ashley Wennerstrom, Melanie L. Bell, Lorena Verdugo, Scott Carvajal, Maia Ingram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Community health workers (CHW) have historically served to link structurally vulnerable populations to broad support systems. Emerging evidence suggests that CHWs engage in various forms of advocacy to promote policy and systems change. We assessed the impact of CHW community advocacy on community change, defined as civic engagement, organizational capacity and policy and systems change. Data are drawn from the 2014 National Community Health Worker Advocacy Survey (N = 1776) aimed to identify the state of the CHW profession, and their impact on health disparities through community advocacy and policy engagement. Our primary analysis used multiple linear regression to assess the association between CHW advocacy and community change. As predicted, there was a significant, positive association between CHW advocacy and change in community conditions. Additionally, both adjusted and sensitivity models had similar standardized beta estimates for advocacy, and adjusted R2 statistics. CHW advocacy predicts positive change in community conditions and further advances the CHW Community Advocacy Framework designed to support and monitor CHW community advocacy to reduce health disparities through advocacy and policy change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1203
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Advocacy
  • Community health worker
  • Health disparities
  • Leadership
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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