A successful program for training parent mentors to provide assistance with obtaining health insurance for uninsured children

Glenn Flores, Candy Walker, Hua Lin, Michael Lee, Marco Fierro, Monica Henry, Kenneth Massey, Alberto Portillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Abstract Objective Seven million US children lack health insurance. Community health workers are effective in insuring uninsured children, and parent mentors (PMs) in improving asthmatic children's outcomes. It is unknown, however, whether a training program can result in PMs acquiring knowledge/skills to insure uninsured children. The study aim was to determine whether a PM training program results in improved knowledge/skills regarding insuring uninsured minority children. Methods Minority parents in a primary-care clinic who already had Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)-covered children were selected as PMs, attending a 2-day training session addressing 9 topics. A 33-item pretraining test assessed knowledge/skills regarding Medicaid/CHIP, the application process, and medical homes. A 46-item posttest contained the same 33 pretest items (ordered differently) and 13 Likert-scale questions on training satisfaction. Results All 15 PMs were female and nonwhite, 60% were unemployed, and the mean annual income was $20,913. After training, overall test scores (0-100 scale) significantly increased, from a mean of 62 (range 39-82) to 88 (range 67-100) (P <.01), and the number of wrong answers decreased (mean reduction 8; P <.01). Significant improvements occurred in 6 of 9 topics, and 100% of PMs reported being very satisfied (86%) or satisfied (14%) with the training. Preliminary data indicate PMs are significantly more effective than traditional Medicaid/CHIP outreach/enrollment in insuring uninsured minority children. Conclusions A PM training program resulted in significant improvements in knowledge and skills regarding outreach to and enrollment of uninsured, Medicaid/CHIP-eligible children, with high levels of satisfaction with the training. This PM training program might be a useful model for training Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act navigators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number647
Pages (from-to)275-281
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • adolescent
  • child
  • community health workers
  • medically uninsured
  • mentors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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