The Heart Smarts program from the Food Trust seeks to improve access to healthy foods and behaviors in urban neighborhoods by hosting nutrition education and health screenings in corner stores. As part of the program, a community health worker was hired to help with recruitment and retention of program participants in two stores. This study examines de-identified participant data to find the effects the community health worker had on participation and potential effects any participation changes had on blood pressure and BMI. Through secondary data analysis and participant interviews, we found that the community health worker stores had higher levels of retention than some of the other stores in the program. None of the non-community health worker stores differed from each other in the same way. Age and participants’ number of visits were associated with a change towards normal blood pressure. Gender and race were associated with reduction in BMI category. Interviews with participants showed a difference in familiarity with the community health worker and her role in the program depending on the store the interviews were held in. Participants in a store owned by the community health worker were more familiar with the role of the community health worker in the program. Despite not finding the specific reason for the increased retention, the presence of a community health worker was found to be associated with greater number of repeat visits and potential for reduction in blood pressure in Heart Smarts corner stores. This study suggests implementing more community health workers in other sites would increase the number of repeat visits and aid participants in achieving normal blood pressure.
Yang, MPHc, Carlos; Brawer, MPH, PhD, Rickie; and Abel, MSPH, Michelle, "Evaluating the Impact of a Community Health Worker in the Heart Smarts Corner Stores" (2018). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 238.