Immigrants living in US cities face myriad obstacles to accessing quality health care. This inequitable access to care is compounded by the risk of chronic disease accompanying the stress, strain, and lifestyle changes that can come with life in a new country. Bridging the Gap details the role, lessons, and effectiveness of community health workers (CHWs) in bringing health care to underserved immigrant communities. Combining education, advocacy, and local cultural acumen, CHWs have proven successful in the United States and abroad, improving community health and establishing an evidence base for how CHW programs can work for immigrants. Based on a decade of in-depth evaluations from several immigrant health programs in New York City with complementary interviews with dozens of immigrants and CHWs, Bridging the Gap offers insights into how CHWs help immigrants overcome the obstacles to health care. The authors carefully distill first-hand lessons into recommendations for best practices in developing and utilizing effective CHW programs-insights that will be immediately useful to any community group, municipal agency, or health care organization.
Bridging the Gap provides a workable antidote to the seemingly intractable problems faced by cities everywhere in the pursuit of maintaining and maximizing immigrant health. It is a hugely valuable entry in burgeoning field that will be central to the next century of urban public health.