Analysis of community health worker utilization in El Paso County, Texas

Sherrie Barber Wise, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Community health workers (CHWs) are an accepted, viable component of health systems worldwide. Most often they are utilized in developing regions where health care access is limited and/or health care practitioners are scarce. In this way community health workers have been used to extend the reach of primary care delivery to whole nations, and can be used to reduce health disparities in disadvantaged populations or minority groups as well. In the United States, utilization of CHWs is fragmented, and an amalgam of programs exist which are usually only community-specific. These programs are often burdened by financial un-sustainability. The Community Health Worker National Workforce Study (2007) was markedly the first effort to compile a profile of the CHW workforce in all 50 states. El Paso County, as a uniquely bi-national setting, provided a prime locale to assess CHW utilization on a localized scale, and in a distinctively Latino population and medically underserved area. Results gleaned from this study of 45 CHWs and 5 administrators demonstrate commonalities between El Paso County CHWs and the national CHW workforce; differences were found in average education level, wages for experienced CHWs, as well as primary target populace and target health issues. Future research should focus on cost-effectiveness of CHW utilization.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Wise, Sherrie Barber, "Analysis of community health worker utilization in El Paso County, Texas" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1457526.