Peers for Progress, a program of the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) announced the release of two essential guides to enable accelerated implementation and scale-up of peer support programs in order to meet global healthcare challenges.
The Peers for Progress Program Development Guide, is a comprehensive practical handbook representing the culmination of six years of intensive study and reporting by community health leaders across the globe. The guide serves as resource for potential and existing peer support program managers, providing step-by-step instruction on program planning, monitoring and evaluation, quality improvement, and sustainability. Healthcare providers and community leaders seeking to implement peer support programs will also find supporting documentation for their efforts in the form of a recently completed economic analysis report, which demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of implementing these programs and suggests an innovative payment model for peer support.
“We are very excited to introduce the Peers for Progress Program Development Guide, which offers a menu of good practices and how-to resources for the healthcare community,” said Edwin B. Fisher, global director of Peers for Progress. “Existing program directors will benefit from the guidance on how to create and maintain the necessary frameworks for successful programs, and new managers will find the tools they need to demonstrate the real-world application of peer support programs in a variety of community settings.”
The second resource, Mi Salud es Primero: A Model for Implementing a Promotores de Salud Program for Diabetes Self-Management in a Primary Care Setting, outlines an ideal design and implementation of a peer support program that could meet the needs of Spanish-speaking communities, which are often underserved and disproportionately affected by chronic illnesses such as diabetes. The guide draws on research from the Mi Salud es Primero/My Health Comes First program, targeted to urban, low-income primarily Latino adults with type 2 diabetes in Chicago, Illinois, which integrated promotores de salud or community health workers in a primary care setting.
“NCLR finds that working with promotores de salud is highly effective in providing Latinos with the peer support they need to learn to eat healthier foods, exercise in a way that fits into their daily routines, and better follow their doctors’ instructions. These community health workers truly understand the challenges facing Latino patients and are able to share information in a way that is culturally and linguistically appropriate,” said A. Manuela McDonough, Associate Director, Institute for Hispanic Health, NCLR.
Together with legacy data from the global studies, the Peers for Progress and NCLR guides strongly illustrate the crucial role peer support programming plays in closing gaps in healthcare.
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