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Am J Prev Med. 2017 Mar;52(3S3):S284-S289. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.08.034.

A Place-Based Community Health Worker Program: Feasibility and Early Outcomes, New York City, 2015.

Author information

New York University School of Medicine, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, New York, New York.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Long Island City, New York.
New York City Housing Authority, New York, New York.
Community Services Society, New York, New York.
City University of New York School of Public Health and Health Policy, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, New York, New York.
New York University School of Medicine, NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, New York, New York. Electronic address:



This study examined feasibility of a place-based community health worker (CHW) and health advocate (HA) initiative in five public housing developments selected for high chronic disease burden and described early outcomes.


This intervention was informed by a mixed-method needs assessment performed December 2014-January 2015 (representative telephone survey, n=1,663; six focus groups, n=55). Evaluation design was a non-randomized, controlled quasi-experiment. Intake and 3-month follow-up data were collected February-December 2015 (follow-up response rate, 93%) on 224 intervention and 176 comparison participants, and analyzed in 2016. All participants self-reported diagnoses of hypertension, diabetes, or asthma. The intervention consisted of chronic disease self-management and goal setting through six individual CHW-led health coaching sessions, instrumental support, and facilitated access to insurance/clinical care navigation from community-based HAs. Feasibility measures included CHW service satisfaction and successful goal setting. Preliminary outcomes included clinical measures (blood pressure, BMI); disease management behaviors and self-efficacy; and preventive behaviors (physical activity).


At the 3-month follow-up, nearly all intervention participants reported high satisfaction with their CHW (90%) and HA (76%). Intervention participants showed significant improvements in self-reported physical activity (p=0.005) and, among hypertensive participants, self-reported routine blood pressure self-monitoring (p=0.013) compared with comparison participants. No improvements were observed in self-efficacy or clinical measures at the 3-month follow-up.


Housing-based initiatives involving CHW and HA teams are acceptable to public housing residents and can be effectively implemented to achieve rapid improvements in physical activity and chronic disease self-management. At 3-month assessment, additional time and efforts are required to improve clinical outcomes.

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