The National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW) and Health Resources in Action have launched a project that aims to advance Choosing Wisely by disseminating campaign materials and resources among community health workers (CHW), to aid in the mission of helping communities achieve health, equity and social justice.
NACHW is an association of CHWs, CHW Networks (e.g., coalitions, training networks), and allies (e.g., providers, CHW supervisors and employers). NACHW’s mission is to unite CHWs nationally, a workforce of over 120,000, to support communities in achieving health equity and social justice. Denise Smith, CHW, founding Executive Director of NACHW, will lead the Choosing Wisely project.
This project aims to improve CHWs’ access to Choosing Wisely materials, resources and training, and to strengthen CHW engagement in the national dialogue about avoiding unnecessary medical tests and treatments. “NACHW is launching this project to increase CHWs’ awareness of and access to Choosing Wisely tools and resources through a newly developed webpage,” Smith said. “CHW leaders and allies from across the country will be invited to adopt and disseminate these free tools to support their activities to strengthen patient and provider trust and communication.”
Project leaders will also include Kelly Rand, an ABIM Foundation program officer, and Millie Seguinot, the president of the Community Health Worker Association of Connecticut. Culturally and linguistically diverse researchers, advocates and community health workers will be recruited from across the country to participate.
“CHWs are integral partners in supporting patients during health system navigation, and providing services to increase patients’ capacity to have conversations with providers about low value care and overuse,” Smith said. “CHWs are frontline public health workers with unique trust and engagement with communities that experience poor health status and outcomes and structural barriers, including communities of color, low income, rural/urban communities, and other marginalized populations.”
Project goals include promoting equity and centering CHW and community expertise, engaging CHW training and certification sites, building on existing relationships, and identifying critical gaps for future CHW engagement. The group hopes this project will lead to deeper research on community health workers role in overuse conversations and the role that trust plays in those conversations.
The project launched in the last quarter of 2020 and will continue through September 2021. The former Connecticut Choosing Wisely Collaborative granted NACHW funds as its last collaborative activity.