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Community Health Workers in Schools: A Systematic Review

Published:October 09, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2022.08.015

      Abstract

      Background

      Community health workers (CHWs) are trusted community members who provide health education and care. However, no consensus exists regarding whether community health worker-based interventions are effective within the school setting.

      Objective

      To determine outcomes and best practices of school-based community health worker interventions.

      Data Sources

      PubMed, CINAHL, and SCOPUS databases.

      Study Eligibility Criteria

      This systematic literature review examined articles that described an intervention led by community health workers, targeted children and/or parents, and took place primarily within a Kindergarten-12th grade school setting. Articles were excluded if they described an intervention outside the United States.

      Participants

      Community health workers, children, and/or their parents

      Interventions

      School-based community health worker programs

      Results

      Of 1875 articles identified, 13 met inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis. Of these, 5 described a statistically significant primary outcome. Seven articles provided details regarding community health worker recruitment, training, and roles that would enable reproduction of the intervention.

      Limitations

      This review focused on interventions in the United States. Bias of individual studies had a wide range of scores (9–21). Heterogeneity of studies also precluded a meta-analysis of primary outcomes.

      Conclusions and Implications of Key Findings

      The utilization of Community health workers in school-based interventions for children and/or parents is promising. This review identified a lack of detail and uniformity in program presentation, specifically with Community health worker recruitment, training, and roles. A standardized reporting mechanism for Community health worker interventions in schools would better allow for reproducibility and scalability of existing studies.

      Keywords

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