Our faculty at William & Mary are making great contributions to academia with their research. In our recent blog series, we interview faculty with recent publications for insight into their scholarship.
Candice Benjes-Small, head of research and librarian to Kinesiology and Health Sciences, spoke to Assistant Professor Iyabo Obasanjo about her recently published article, “A Case Study of a Community Health Worker Program Located in Low-Income Housing in Richmond Virginia.”
In a few sentences, describe your scholarship to someone unfamiliar with the field.
Community Health Workers have been proposed as a health workforce to help ameliorate poor health outcomes in low-income communities especially low-income minority communities. We reviewed the data in the electronic health records used by Community Health Workers in Richmond to manage their work with residents of Low-Income Housing in Richmond, Virginia from 2013 to 2020 and we also interviewed the Community Health Workers. They worked mainly on Social Determinants of Health such as employment and health access, but they also did disease management and prevention by taking blood pressure and blood sugar measurements. Community Health Workers embedded in Low-Income Housing intervene on issues that impact negatively on residents ability to thrive such as unemployment, lack of health access and help in management of chronic diseases and should therefore be used in the public health system to improve health outcomes for people living in poverty.
What was the most exciting/interesting part of this project for you?:
Interviewing the Community Health Workers. They were all minority women who had themselves lived in public housing, but they were articulate, well spoken, and were passionate about helping the clients they worked with.
Who might be interested in reading this?
The paper would be of interest to anyone who wants to understand how we improve the health indicators in the US, most especially how to set up interventions at health districts level within state’s department of health, to impact positively on the health of socially and economically disenfranchised. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how the lack of attention to social factors affecting people on the lower end of the economic scale also leads to worse health outcomes for them in terms of underlying conditions which the leads to an infectious disease like COVID-19 causing higher mortality in the group.
How did W&M Libraries help support your scholarship?
Most of the work for this paper was done during the lockdown when we all barely left home. But access to papers online through the Swem library is invaluable to me, and ordering books online that I can pick up from my office mailbox even when the world was shutdown was a wonderful service.
Is there anything else you want to share?
Several W&M students worked on this research project. They helped with data management and with the interviews and their contribution was important to completing the research.
*W&M faculty and staff who wish to be part of this series should complete the form available at: https://guides.libraries.wm.edu/pubpromotion