JOURNAL ARTICLE

Designing a community-based lay health advisor training curriculum to address cancer health disparities

Clement K Gwede, Atalie A Ashley, Kara McGinnis, F Alejandro Montiel-Ishino, Maisha Standifer, Julie Baldwin, Coni Williams, Kevin B Sneed, Deanna Wathington, Lolita Dash-Pitts, B Lee Green
Health Promotion Practice 2013, 14 (3): 415-24
22982709

INTRODUCTION: Racial and ethnic minorities have disproportionately higher cancer incidence and mortality than their White counterparts. In response to this inequity in cancer prevention and care, community-based lay health advisors (LHAs) may be suited to deliver effective, culturally relevant, quality cancer education, prevention/screening, and early detection services for underserved populations. APPROACH AND STRATEGIES: Consistent with key tenets of community-based participatory research (CBPR), this project engaged community partners to develop and implement a unique LHA training curriculum to address cancer health disparities among medically underserved communities in a tricounty area. Seven phases of curriculum development went into designing a final seven-module LHA curriculum. In keeping with principles of CBPR and community engagement, academic-community partners and LHAs themselves were involved at all phases to ensure the needs of academic and community partners were mutually addressed in development and implementation of the LHA program.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Community-based LHA programs for outreach, education, and promotion of cancer screening and early detection, are ideal for addressing cancer health disparities in access and quality care. When community-based LHAs are appropriately recruited, trained, and located in communities, they provide unique opportunities to link, bridge, and facilitate quality cancer education, services, and research.

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