Taking it to the Streets: Community Health Workers Improve Access for Low-Income Residents

From 1993 to 1996, The New Community Corporation (NCC), the largest nonprofit housing corporation in New Jersey, worked with Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere), a worldwide humanitarian organization in health care, to train Community Health Workers. The aim was to provide Newark residents with better health information and greater access to existing health care services.

The Community Health Workers served in their own neighborhoods as adjuncts to professional staff. Their activities included peer outreach, interviewing, screening, health education, referrals and follow-up.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Health Initiatives national program.

Key Results

  • NCC and Project Hope implemented a culturally and geographically appropriate 250-hour Community Health Worker curriculum.
  • They trained 35 individuals, five more than projected.
  • They recorded more than 30,000 encounters between Community Health Workers and clients in the areas of client advocacy, enrollment in Medicaid managed care plans and street outreach.