Dr. Jennifer Swanberg, Professor, led an interdisciplinary and cross-university team, including doctoral candidate, Helen Nichols, and MSW alumna Yancy Padilla, in conducting a systematic review published in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. We systematically reviewed the literature to describe how community health workers (CHWs) are involved in occupational health and safety research and to identify areas for future research and research practice strategies. We searched five electronic databases from July 2015 through July 2016. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) study took place in the United States, (2) published as a full peer-review manuscript in English, (3) conducted occupational health and safety research, and (4) CHWs were involved in the research. The majority of 17 included studies took place in the agriculture industry (76%). CHWs were often involved in study implementation/design and research participant contact. Rationale for CHW involvement in research was due to local connections/acceptance, existing knowledge/skills, communication ability, and access to participants. Barriers to CHW involvement in research included competing demands on CHWs, recruitment and training difficulties, problems about research rigor and issues with proper data collection. Involving CHWs in occupational health and safety research has potential for improving inclusion of diverse, vulnerable and geographically isolated populations. Further research is needed to assess the challenges and opportunities of involving CHWs in this research and to develop evidence-based training strategies to teach CHWs to be lay-health researchers.
More details can be found at: Swanberg, J. E., Nichols, H. M., Clouser, J. M., Check, P., Edwards, L., Bush, A. M., Padilla, Y., & Betz, G. (2018). A Systematic Review of Community Health Workers’ Role in Occupational Safety and Health Research. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.
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