COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER TRAINING
Behind the Scenes
The Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center (ESAHEC) offers a comprehensive 160-hour curriculum designed to equip CHWs with the practical skills, knowledge and tools to access health information, conduct health education and promotion, assist with disease prevention and chronic disease management, make referrals, coordinate services and navigate the health care system for their clients and communities in a culturally responsive manner.
WHAT IS A COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER?
According to the American Public Health Association (APHA):
A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.
HISTORY OF ESAHEC'S TRAINING PROGRAM
As a partner of the Caroline-Dorchester Competent Care Connections Health Enterprise Zone, ESAHEC began training CHWs in 2013. Since then ESAHEC has trained CHWs to address the health needs specific to our region. ESAHEC has trained fifty-three CHWs in core competency training and hosted approximately 15 continuing education sessions on topics ranging from oral health to advocacy.
ESAHEC, along with the Maryland AHEC Program, AHEC West and Baltimore AHEC, have developed a unified, statewide CHW Training Program based on the recommendations of the Maryland Workgroup for Workforce Development of Community Health Workers as well as the competencies identified in the national C3 Project led by CHW consultant Carl Rush.
Training modules incorporate the identified eleven Maryland core competencies and C3 skills:
Effective oral and written communication skills
Knowledge of local resources and system navigation
Advocacy and community capacity building skills
Teaching skills to promote healthy behavior change
Outreach methods and strategies
Ability to bridge needs and identify resources
Understanding of public health concepts and health literacy
Understanding of ethics and confidentiality issues
Ability to use and understand health information technology
In addition to the Core Trainings, CHWs are trained in health promotion topics such as diabetes, behavioral health, asthma, nutrition and other topics relevant to the particular need of the agency. Participants receive a Certificate of Completion following the CHW Training Program. Continuing Education is offered to provide refreshers on past topics as well to address any new training needs.
Working Towards a Better Tomorrow
We are proud to partner with many agencies, organizations and health care systems to deliver a relevant and innovative CHW Training Program. Some of our partners include: Associated Black Charities, Maryland AHEC Program Office, AHEC West, Baltimore AHEC, New Jersey AHEC Community Health Worker Institute (CHWI), Maryland Healthy Weighs, Mid Shore Local Improvement Coalition, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Eastern Shore Mobile Crisis, Peninsula Home Care, Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC, Inc.), Choptank Community Health System, Peninsula Regional Medical Center and local health departments.
Making an impact
WHAT TRAINEES ARE SAYING
"The Training was very enlightening and provided me great awareness and a better feel for my position with confidence."
"I loved her energy and the interesting way that she (the trainer) conveyed the information.”"
"[The CHW Training] gave me the confidence and preparation for a job I love and enjoy – serving the community.”
Since 2013, ESAHEC has trained seven cohorts (over 50 CHWs) of CHWs who are empowering clients to take greater control over their health and their lives. As the CHW movement grows and gains recognition as a viable solution to the Triple Aim (better health, better care, lower cost), ESAHEC will continue to promote the role of the Community Health Worker in team-based health care and build the CHW workforce one CHW at a time.