Taking A More Local Approach

In the beginning of my research endeavor — with a slight shift of focus — my advisor and I made the decision to recenter our public health concerns and look more closely at the communities in which we, specifically, engage. This meant narrowing the lens of our concern and asking questions about the public health matters that affected Virginia and, more specifically, Williamsburg.

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Abstract: Analyzing the Role of Community Health Extension Workers in Providing Health Services to Low Health Communities Domestically and Abroad

Many barriers stand in the way of the efficiency of the US healthcare system; one such barrier is access. Education levels, income, race, and gender make up but a few of the potential barriers between an individual in need of medical attention and the proper means by which it is attained. This fact explains why urban areas cite some of the highest health disparities, why Baltimore, Maryland’s John’s Hopkins University medical school is one of the highest ranked but the community in which they serve has some of the country’s worst health outcomes. Barriers abound. These barriers are not negligible, but rather we pay for them in the cost of human lives. With my research, I plan to use the actions taken by international healthcare systems in bridging the gaps of access, to inform ways in which the US healthcare system can better serve its communities of constrained resources. Namely, I plan to look at, and analyze, the role of the community health extension worker in low health communities around the world and determine if the introduction of the community health worker in the US serves to potentially aid in bridging the health disparity gaps that we face in our own healthcare system.

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