Expert communication training for providers in community health centers

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Community Health Centers; Community Health Workers; Health Communication; Professional-Patient Relations


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Medical Education | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care


BACKGROUND: Community health center (CHC) clinicians describe significant challenges in delivering care for populations with complex health needs.

INTERVENTION: A three-workshop series was presented to 102 providers working in CHCs. Training focused on four areas identified through online needs assessment: challenging interactions; patient perspective; health literacy; and motivational interviewing.

EVALUATION METHODS: A retrospective pre-post evaluation measured self-perceived change in content knowledge in all four areas. Participants documented commitments to change behaviors across workshops, which were analyzed for recurring themes.

RESULTS: Paired t-tests documented improvement in all four content areas. Content analysis of commitments yielded four themes: empowering patients, structuring care, understanding patients, and reflecting purposefully. Of the sixty-eight percent of participants responding to post-workshop queries about their commitments (n=70), 94% report having fully implemented changes in practice behavior or planning to do so.

CONCLUSIONS: Providers at CHCs benefit from opportunities to learn and reflect together about communication challenges in practice.

DOI of Published Version



J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2011 Nov;22(4):1358-68. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of health care for the poor and underserved

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed