Caring for community members during the COVID-19 pandemic: results of a statewide survey

Tess Jewell, Kate H. Gillespie, Nicholas B. Schmuhl, Sharon Gilbert, Bria Grant, Lakeeta Watts, Deborah B. Ehrenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Community health workers (CHWs) and home visitors (HVs) are members of the public health workforce who are uniquely poised to support vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we assess the experiences of CHWs and HVs in Wisconsin during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic to learn about their experiences related to mitigation strategies and vaccination efforts. Subject and methods: Working closely with community partners, we recruited CHWs and HVs via email to complete an online survey between June 24 and August 10, 2021. Participants were eligible if they worked at any time since March 25, 2020, when the Safer at Home Order was put into place. The survey asked CHWs and HVs about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination efforts. Results: Eligible respondents included 48 HVs and 26 CHWs. Most CHWs (96%) and HVs (85%) reported discussing the COVID-19 vaccine with clients, and 46% of HVs and 85% of CHWs said they planned to encourage their clients to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19. We found that many CHWs and HVs identified the COVID-19 pandemic as a threat to the health of the US population, and many reported that they thought mitigation strategies were effective at keeping people safe from COVID-19. There was inconsistency in regard to respondents plans to encourage their clients to receive vaccination for COVID-19. Conclusion: Future study, training, and support for CHWs and HVs should focus on facilitating vaccination efforts and other emerging public health interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Public Health (Germany)
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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