The diverse roles of community health workers: Cues for technology innovations

Danielle Trause, Sarah Peterson, Nathan Doty, Alyssa Liguori, Katelyn Holmes, Linda Kanzleiter, Khanjan Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Community health workers (CHW) in rural Kenya have great influence in their society and the potential to affect positive change in community health, yet their training is largely inconsistent and their community role is not well understood. This study explores the role of CHW and considers their ability to operate a telemedicine system designed by the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Program at Penn State. Methods: Qualitative field research allowed exploration of CHWs in their natural environment in Nyeri, Kenya. Data were collected in the form of focus groups and direct observations, and analysis was performed using the constant comparative method. Results: Nyeri CHWs report identifying with many roles including public health advocate, a teacher, a healthcare provider, and a community role model. Conclusions: Nyeri CHWs are highly motivated to improve the health of their community, yet lack the knowledge and training required to meet the key objectives of the Ministry of Health. Through telemedicine utilization, CHWs could both increase their knowledge of diseases and provide an opportunity for large-scale health surveillance. While this study focused on one specific region, the observations are transferrable to CHW programs in similar resource-constrained settings around the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-217
Number of pages10
JournalProcedia Engineering
StatePublished - 2014
EventHumanitarian Technology: Science, Systems and Global Impact 2014, HumTech2014 - Boston, Cambridge, United States
Duration: May 13 2014May 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The diverse roles of community health workers: Cues for technology innovations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this