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Measuring Community Health Workers’ Contribution to Addressing Social Determinants of Health

rani noelle leticia kenny

Community Health Workers (CHWs), trusted community members who promote health in their own communities, have historically addressed social determinants of health in a variety of ways. In this panel presentation, panelists representing 4 related initiatives will share how they are seeking to measure CHWs’ contribution to addressing SDOH.


Rani George, MPH, Research Project Manager, Center for Health Systems Effectiveness, Oregon Health and Science University

Rani is passionate about promoting health equity and culturally-appropriate healthcare. Her multidisciplinary public health training led her early work from HIV epidemiology in metro Chicago to provider training on HIV prevention at rural hospitals in India early in the HIV epidemic. She led the development of a culturally-appropriate genetics e-curriculum and training for primary care providers at community health centers serving Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US. She spent a decade in India as an Educator and Executive Director of a local nonprofit on community health efforts to promote safe drinking water, prevent gender-based violence, organize long term care and provide school health education. Her work at the Oregon Health Authority looked at disparities in access to genetic services in Oregon based on racial, ethnic and socioeconomic characteristics. She is currently focusing on a research project evaluating the impact of Oregon’s CCO Medicaid reform model on reducing disparities-related outcomes.

Noelle Wiggins, EdD, MSPH, Director, Community Capacitation Center, Multnomah County Health Department Moderator

Noelle has more than 30 years' experience leading health promotion programs and conducting participatory research and evaluation aimed at eliminating inequities in health, education, and social status. Her areas of particular expertise are the Community Health Worker (CHW) model, popular education (also known as Freirian or empowerment education) and community based participatory research and evaluation (CBPR/E). She has trained and supervised CHWs both domestically and internationally. She served as Assoc. Director of the landmark Natl. Community Health Advisor Study and lead author on the study chapter on Core Roles and Competencies of CHWs, which has served as the basis for policy making in numerous states. She is widely recognized for her expertise in using popular education to build capacity in a range of participants, including CHWs and public health students. She has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and presented at over 60 state and national conferences on topics including CHWs, popular education and CBPR/E.

Leticia Rodriguez Garcia, MPH, Community Health Worker, Community Capacitation Center, Multnomah County Health Department

Leticia has over 15 years of experience as a CHW; she was formally employed as a CHW at Benton County Health Department prior to pursuing her MPH. She has served as the Graduate Research Assistant for two CHW related projects, the Common Indicators project and the Oregon CHW Consortium. Currently, she serves as a co-facilitator and intern for the participatory evaluation of the Community Education Worker project. She has developed and facilitated various capacity building evaluation sessions for the participatory evaluation team. Her research interests include the community based participatory research, the roles of CHWs, and health disparities among immigrant communities. Throughout her work she hopes to continue collaborating with CHWs.

Kenneth Maes, PhD, Assistant Professor, Graduate Program Director, Anthropology, Oregon State University

Kenneth received a PhD in Anthropology from Emory University in 2010, and is currently Assistant Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Anthropology department at Oregon State University. He has conducted ethnographic work in Ethiopia since 2006, focusing on community health workers, health systems, and gender and power. Since 2014 he has been a member of the Oregon Community Health Worker Consortium Research Team. He has published in a range of social science and public health journals, and is author of The Lives of Community Health Workers: Local Labor and Global Health in Urban Ethiopia (Routledge, 2017).