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Am J Public Health. 1979 May;69(5):465-8.

The effect of outreach workers' educational efforts on disadvantaged preschool children's use of preventive services.


A special program of outreach services was implemented to assist a poverty population to appropriately use health services in the Kaiser-Permanente Medical Care Program. A study was conducted to determine the effect of outreach workers' intervention on the use of preventive services by this population. Intially, families were divided into two groups, one with and one without outreach workers. Outreach workers (neighborhood health coordinators) were trained in prevention and health education. They were then assigned to specific subgroups of the poverty population to teach the importance of preventive services and to motivate persons to use these services. This paper focuses on the effect of outreach workers' services on the use of selected preventive care services (immunizations and tine test) by preschool children from poverty families. Preschool children in families with coordinator services had higher use rates for preventive care. The sub-group for which outreach workers were specially trained to focus on preventive procedures for the pre-school group had markedly higher use rates for preventive care. The findings suggest that special intervention programs, using indigenous and nonprofessional outreach workers, can increase preventive service utilization by poverty groups.

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