HCGC Ready to Launch Second Class of Community Health Workers in Certification Program
By: McKenzie Carter, Communications Manager, HCGC
After graduating the first class of the Central Ohio Pathways HUB Community Health Worker (CHW) Certification participants in June of 2021, the Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus (HCGC) will start the second session of the program starting in September.
Under the leadership of Central Ohio Pathways HUB Education Director, Dr. Tanikka Price, the HCGC CHW certification team has been working hard to grow and evolve the curriculum and design of the program based on what we learned from the first session. A major aspect to planning for this session has been collected, analyzing, and applying feedback from the 17 graduates of the inaugural class. Certification staff are excited to incorporate these recommendations as we welcome our new cohort.
With an incoming class of 21 professionals from diverse backgrounds including age ranges from 25 to 61, various genders, diverse races and ethnicities, and varied previous CHW work, we are eager to learn from this group of impressive individuals who are sure to bring unique perspectives to the program. Our certification is again being offered free of charge for participants due to generous funding of our HCGC supporters.
HCGC continues to be grateful to the Care Coordination Agencies (CCAs) participating in the Central Ohio Pathways HUB (the HUB) who have had their CHWs participate in our certification program. Our first session of the program consisted of individuals who were all working as care coordinators for our CCAs in the HUB. We are very excited that the next session of the program will welcome individuals who are both already working in the HUB, and some who are not. Our CCAs have been generous in agreeing to welcome participants to complete their required practicum hours. Such collaboration is key to allow future CHWs to have real-life experience with some of central Ohio’s most impactful health and human service agencies.
Our first unit will focus on Certified Community Health Workers Improving Lives within Larger Health and Healthcare Systems, where we will focus on understanding the role and goals of CHWs, and CHW employment models, particularly the Community Pathways HUB Model. We will also describe ways for CHWs to manage stress and anxiety, and go over best-practice client engagement strategies. This unit also covers understanding social determinants of health, and how they connect to life expectancy and outcomes. We will highlight and brainstorm strategies to keep CHWs safe in various environments. This unit is designed to empower collaborative discussions, self-esteem, establish responsibility and professionalism, as well as develop professional relationships with certified CHWs in Central Ohio. Our second unit focuses on CHWs Role in Health Education and Health Promotion. This unit will guide the cohort to demonstrate general awareness of health care needs for individuals across the life span and related health care and social services. This includes understanding pregnancy, motherhood, and the early years of life and possible barriers and concerns, and how to mitigate those risks. A focus of this section will be on identifying chronic health conditions, as well as educating clients on possible risk factors and health behaviors that decrease risks. Chronic diseases that impact African American, Latinx, and Indigenous American communities including asthma, heart disease, and diabetes will be highlighted. The unit will teach CHWs how to recognize signs indicating changes in client’s health status, and how to educate others on healthy lifestyle choices. Delving deeper into health disparities, we will work to understand the behavioral, mental, emotional, and spiritual impacts on health, and discuss substance use and effects on health. This unit concludes with a collaborative discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic, incorporating data, case investigations, testing and vaccine advocacy, and resource coordination. The goal for this unit is for participants to become an effective self/client advocate and develop and improve interpersonal communication skills and health literacy. Our third and final unit will focus on At-Risk Communities. With an emphasis on health disparities and health equity, we will consider the health disparities in Franklin County, and work to understand specific client population considerations, including African Americans, LGBTQ+, IDD, opioid/substance abuse disorder clients, New Americans, Immigrant populations, Asian Americans, and Latinx populations. We will define cultural competence, and work to understand ethical issues in research on marginalized groups. Through collaboration and advocacy-oriented discussions, we will learn how telling and listening to stories centers minority voices, and counters economic stereotypes. This cohort will be able to end this unit with conflict resolution skills, the ability to adhere to privacy and confidentiality, and understand concepts of trust amongst professional teams, CHWs, and clients.
HCGC’s Central Ohio Pathways HUB CHW Certification staff is excited to welcome and collaborate with this new cohort, and discover all of the valuable experience and insight this new groups of individuals brings to our program. If you would like to learn more about the Central Ohio Pathways HUB Certification Program, please contact HUB Education Director, Dr. Tanikka Price at Tanikka@hcgc.org.