Supporting community health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A mixed methods pilot study

Pamela Recto, Janna Lesser, Jose Zapata, Eduardo Gandara, Annette Zavala Idar, Martha Castilla

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective: To examine how the COVID-19 Project ECHO program may have influenced the mental health of community health workers (CHWs) from South Texas. The program was designed around case-based learning and mentorship to provide support to CHWs and help them gain expertise to provide services to their communities. Design: An explanatory sequential mixed methods pilot study. Sample: Fifteen CHWs who were enrolled in the program participated in this study. Measurements: The Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) were used to measure the differences pre- and post-intervention. Qualitative description was used to explore the experiences of the participating CHWs. Results: The PSS post-test mean (12.53) showed a statistically significant decrease from the pretest mean (17.01) (t (14 = 2.456, p =.028). The CHWs explained that the death of loved ones, feelings of isolation, and work-related concerns influenced their mental health. CHWs expressed that the program provided them with emotional support and resources for their clients. Conclusions: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disadvantaged and medically underserved areas will be long-lasting; therefore, the need is greater than ever for CHWs to receive mental health support and be able to connect communities with vital resources.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)63-72
    Number of pages10
    JournalPublic Health Nursing
    Issue number1
    StateAccepted/In press - 2022


    • community health workers
    • COVID-19
    • mental health
    • project ECHO

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nursing(all)
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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