Training of Community Health Workers to Deliver Cancer Patient Navigation to Rural African American Seniors

Background: Rural African American (AA) seniors may experience significant challenges during cancer treatment. Previous research suggests community health workers (CHWs) can provide effective cancer patient navigation (CPN) support.

Objectives: To develop a Train the Trainers (TTT) program for CHWs in rural Central Virginia who would navigate local AA seniors with cancer and train their support persons to provide similar types of assistance.

Methods: We conducted focus groups with rural AA seniors, consulted with experienced CHW trainers, recruited and trained CHWs through a combination of online learning and distance education, evaluated the TTT via surveys and focus groups, and hired CHWs to the study team.

Results/Lessons Learned: Lessons learned from our TTT experience include the value of incorporating CHW trainers and trainees as full members of the research team.

Conclusions: Training should be accessible and flexible, providing trainees community-level resources and enriched educational experiences. Findings have informed a culturally tailored support CHW intervention to address cancer diagnosis and treatment needs for older rural AAs.