Training Community Health Workers in Motivational Interviewing to Promote Cancer Screening

Arica Brandford, Adebola Adegboyega, Brenda Combs, Jennifer Hatcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Health disparities researchers attempting to engage and effectively deliver interventions to underserved populations often encounter a number of challenges ranging from geographical considerations to more complex issues of medical mistrust. While there are a number of strategies researchers may employ to address these challenges, one of the most successful of these has been the use of community health workers (CHWs). Despite the documented success of CHWs, little information exists on the use of theory-driven intervention strategies with these community partners. Researchers who have partnered with CHWs tend to provide brief descriptions of training strategies and provide little discussion of the challenges and barriers to training a lay population in the delivery of technical interventions, including ensuring fidelity to the intervention protocol. The purpose of this article is to describe the feasibility of training CHWs to deliver a motivational interviewing intervention to promote cancer screening in underserved populations. With this article we present an innovative way to use motivational interviewing delivered by CHWs. Specifically, we will detail the development of the training protocol, the implementation of that training in a variety of research settings, and the development and implementation of fidelity protocols. We will use examples from two research studies where CHWs were successfully trained to use MI to promote cancer screening in underserved communities to highlight the challenges and barriers faced in developing and implementing the training and strategies used to overcome these challenges during the refinement of the intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-250
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • breast cancer
  • cancer prevention and control
  • colorectal cancer
  • health disparities
  • health promotion
  • lay health advisors/community health workers
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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