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CHW Health Disparities Initiative

1.2 Get Support from Leaders

Have you thought about how to get support for your program from your organization’s leaders?

“To get leadership and administration on board, it's necessary to show them that the curriculum has been well received by different ethnicities. The biggest question they have is, ‘Is this right for my community?’” —Ritabelle Fernandes, Physician with Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services in Hawaii

Follow the tips below to demonstrate how your heart health program benefits your organization and the community.

Your organization’s leaders will want to see that:

Helpful Handouts and Tools

Evaluation Report Executive Summary pdf document icon (PDF, 423 KB)

Your Heart Health Program Will Address Your Organization’s Goals

Review what your organization wants to do in the near future and long term to help improve heart health among African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Filipinos, and Latinos. Develop a plan that shows how NHLBI’s materials can help to address at least one of your organization’s goals and then talk with your leaders about it.

Use this table with examples to guide you.

Organization Goals and How They Will be Addressed
If your organization has a goal like… Your leaders will want to know…
Reduce hospitalization rates from heart disease among our African American patients. Your heart health program will use behavioral strategies to reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors. You will work with people in the program to
  • Increase physical activity,
  • Control diabetes, and
  • Get support to stop smoking.
Involve the Filipino community health worker (CHW) workforce. Your program will train Filipino CHWs in heart health. After they are trained, they will provide group education.
Reduce health disparities in cardiovascular disease risk factors for Latinas in the service area. Overweight and obesity and lack of physical activity are risk factors for heart disease that are on the rise among Latinas. Your program will help reduce these risk factors by
  • Teaching the ABCs of reading food labels and watching calorie intake,
  • Getting people exercising at free Zumba classes.
Move our patients towards self-sufficiency and living healthier lifestyles. American Indian patients who join our heart health program will learn how to
  • Control high blood pressure,
  • Control high cholesterol, and
  • Prepare healthy meals based on personal recipes.

People in Your Community Need and Want This Program

Talk about the community’s need for a heart health program. For example, are there high rates of heart disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes where you live? How about premature deaths from heart disease or problems with overweight or smoking? To find this data, check with your local health department and community health centers. Also search online for local

  • Community health surveys,
  • County health reports, and
  • Neighborhood needs assessments.

Be sure to show that people in your community want a heart health program. Maybe community members have shown interest through neighborhood meetings, surveys, or informal conversations. Perhaps they have said that they want to participate in exercise classes or “no smoking” campaigns. If you are already running a program, share results, attendance, and feedback from people in the program. The more that your leaders can see what people are asking for, the more that they will want to support it.

CHW Programs Work

If your leaders do not know a lot about CHW programs, check out the resources below. They provide examples of CHW program success and ways to sustain CHW programs:

NHLBI Heart Health Materials Work

Many African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Filipino, and Latino communities use our heart health materials. We have adapted this heart health model across cultures and other chronic diseases. Groups outside the United States use them, too.

We produced these materials with input from CHWs. We did this to make sure that our materials reflect the work they do and meet the needs of the communities we want to support. The materials are easy-to-read and language appropriate.
With our heart health materials, you can do the following:

  • Help people improve their heart health. Our 12-session format is comprehensive to help you meet the heart health needs of your community. It covers 10 heart health topics, includes a review and graduation, and teaches CHWs how to evaluate their program. In addition, all of the sessions include handouts and activities.
  • Meet your program needs. The more your leaders can see how you can adapt our heart health materials to your own local needs, the more likely they will be to adopt your heart health program.
  • Produce results. Review the Evaluation Report Executive Summary pdf document icon (PDF, 423 KB) to learn how our materials have been used in different settings and have successful results. Tell your leaders about this and relate it to what you are planning to do.
  • Sustain your program. Your leaders want to invest in programs that will last. Show them how our materials help you to create a sustainable, relatively low-cost program.

NHLBI Heart Health Materials Include an Evaluation Session

To make sure that you are meeting program and organization goals, you need to be able to evaluate your heart health program. Inform your leaders that our heart health materials already include information on evaluation. Refer to Session 12 in the manuals to find tools to easily collect and analyze data.

There Are Resources to Support Your Program

Your leaders will support your program more if they can see that you have thought in advance about resources that will sustain it. Show them that you have thought about how to plan, implement, evaluate, and sustain your heart health programs. Your proposal should address staffing, training, in-kind support, donations, funding, fundraising, materials, recruitment, and retention. If you are not sure about resources yet, check out Find Out What You Need.

Also, make sure your leaders know that NHLBI provides other training and support to programs through our

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Back to 1.1 Choose NHLBI Materials

Next: 1.3 Decide Who to Reach