Community Health Workers linking clinics and county health departments to create healthy communities.

Linking Individual Needs to Community and Clinical Services (LINKS)

There is a strong body of evidence that community health workers (CHWs) can directly impact health promotion behaviors, chronic disease self-management and positive health outcomes. LINKS is the AzPRC core research project.  We are focusing upstream by shining a light on how CHWs strengthen communication and collaboration between clinics and county-level services. We call this approach community-clinical linkages (CCL), or connections between community and clinical sectors to improve population health with the assurance that the patient receives the needed resource. 

Aim 1: Create community-clinical linkages between three community health centers and their respective county health departments to develop an evidence-based intervention program.

Aim 2: Collaborate with community and clinic partners to implement and evaluate a community-delivered evidence-based CHW prevention program.

LINKS CHWs: Martha Ochoa & Cynthia Espinoza

LINKS CHWs: Martha Ochoa & Cynthia Espinoza

Our partners Sunset Community Health Center and Yuma County Health Services DistrictEl Rio Community Health Center and Pima County Health Department, as well as Mariposa Community Health Center are collaboratively developing a CCL with CHW model. Adults with a chronic disease or symptoms of a pre-chronic disease such as pre-diabetes can participate.  In LINKS, clinic-based CHWs refer community members to community-based CHWs to extend services beyond the clinical realm to the broader social determinants of health. The Arizona Community Health Worker Association trains and supports the LINKS CHWs.  The AzPRC is tracking clinical data on referred participants.  We are also using emotional well-being surveys to examine impact on health behaviors, wellness, and program exposure.

Participant Feedback:

“[LINKS] has helped me find the positive side of life and now I want to make progress, be more active.  I’m willing to do more things for myself like continue computer classes and maybe join an adult literacy program.” –LINKS Participant

“[LINKS has changed my life] because I have someone to motivate me.  When I first started the program, I was not doing any exercise at all.  A few months after I signed with the program, I felt motivated and started walking at the park and going to the gym a few days a week.  I lost 10 pounds.” –LINKS Participant

For more on the research, contact Abby Lohr: