HCGC Celebrates Certifying First Class of Community Health Workers in New Program
By: McKenzie Carter, Program Manager, HCGC
Beginning in March of 2021, the Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus convened a group of 17 professionals for our very first Community Health Worker Certification Program. This first cohort consisted of a diverse variety of genders, races, backgrounds, and experiences. With ages ranging from 23 to 64, this cohort brought more to the table than we could have hoped for. With funding from Aetna, this program was free for all of our participants. We had a wide range of agencies that had CHW’s certified through the program, including; Columbus Urban League, Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services, Physicians CareConnection, Heart of Ohio Family Health, Primary One Health, The Breathing Association, Urban Strategies, and Wellness First.
Our first unit focused on understanding the roles and goals of Community Health Workers, and understanding CHW employment models, particularly with the Community Pathways HUB Model. Our cohort practiced Appreciative Inquiry and Motivational Interviewing, and explored Social Determinants of Health, and how they connect to life expectancy and outcomes. We discussed homelessness and housing in Central Ohio, and its relation to SDOH. Our second unit focused on CHW’s Roles in Health Education and Health Promotion. Our Cohort demonstrated general awareness of health care needs for individuals across the life span, and related health care and social services including; pregnancy and motherhood and early life barriers, and how to mitigate those risks, describing basic anatomy and physiology of major body systems and medical terminology, recognizing signs indicating a change in a client’s health status and educating on healthy lifestyle choices, understanding the behavioral, mental, emotional, and spiritual impacts on health, understanding the importance of oral care, explaining age-appropriate safety and injury prevention techniques, educating clients on becoming independent in their personal health advocacy. This unit also explored the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of data, the role of CHW’s in education, case investigation, testing, vaccinations, and resource coordination. Our third unit focused on targeting at-risk communities. Participants learned in depth about health disparities and health equity, learned about the health disparities in Franklin County, discussed how the legacy of the enslavement of Africans impacts racial disparity in America, explored ethical issues in research on marginalized groups, we defined cultural competence, and discussed the importance of telling and listening to stories that center Black voices.
More specific topics covered in this Certification were pertinent to the work that Community Health Workers do daily. This includes learning about Healthcare Models, establishing a Medical Home, client engagement, managing unconscious biases through curiosity, empathy, and compassion, discussing social determinants of health, learning about pregnancy, motherhood, and reproductive health, health literacy, behavioral health, wholistic health care, ACEs and health outcomes, and so much more.
This cohort truly brought energy, passion, and insight into this program. Our participants made this program successful in so many ways, from sharing personal narratives, exchanging stories and visions, to sharing their expertise. With that being said, at the Awards Ceremony, HCGC recognized Jabriel Harrison for his perfect attendance. His readiness to engage and participate was energizing during the past 3 months. We recognized Gabriella Craft for most improved, as watching her grow within the program was inspirational. We awarded Guy Tshimanga the Courage Award, as he shared his personal stories with the class, and even wrote a poem on Motherhood. We awarded Jabriel, Gabriella, Kate Curry-Da-Souza, and Luciana Smith the Outstanding Presentation Award for their presentations on the role of CHW’s in the medical system of care. And finally, Tifani Kendrick was awarded the First Annual Mark Redding Impact Award for exemplifying the legacy of community service, health equity, and inspiration in memory of the late Mark Redding, the co-founder of the Pathways HUB model.
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.