Community Health Training Institute, Inc. (CHTI) was established after several years of training and teaching Community Health Workers at the UNT Health Science Center’s School of Public Health (UNTHSC). Under the project name, Texas Public Health Training Center (TPHTC), UNTHSC trained a number of Fort Worth based Community Health Workers (CHW) for service in several local social service agencies and hospital systems.
To become certified, a Texas certified Community Health Worker (CHW) candidate must complete one hundred sixty (160) hours of classroom training under the guidance of a certified Texas CHW Instructor. For certification, CHW instructors may only teach from a state approved curriculum. An approved CHW curriculum trains candidates in eight (8) CHW core competencies:
- Interpersonal Skills
- Service Coordination
- Capacity Building
- Health Advocacy
- Knowledge Based Skills – Specific Knowledge of Chronic Diseases
- Teaching Skills
- Organizational Skills
Why Are CHW’s Important?
“At this crucial time of possibility and change, it is essential that US CHW’s and their advocates work to maintain the characteristics of the CHW model that have made it so very effective over time and around the world. These characteristics include CHW’s membership in the communities they serve and their ability to play multiple roles, from providing culturally specific health education and information, to sharing informal counseling and social support, to organizing communities to identify and address their own most pressing health issues.”
Scope of Service For Community Health Workers
Community Health Workers (CHW) create bridges to community services that create capacity change in communities that involve a multi-sectoral approach. Studies have shown CHW’s are effective in promoting behavioral changes in the clients they serve by increasing utilization rates and providing significant reduction in hospital admissions and readmissions (Fedder, Chang, Curry, 2003). CHW’s are responsible for:
- Promoting Cultural Competency
- Helping Individuals, Families, Groups and Communities Develop Capacity and Access To Health and Human Services Organizations / Agencies
- Facilitating Communications and Client Improvement Within the Health and Human Service Domain
- Helping Individuals Understand Their Health Conditions
- Helping People Develop Strategies To Improve Their Health and Well-Being
- Delivering Health Education Information Using Appropriate Culturally Competent Terms and Concepts
- Linking People to Health Care and Social Service Resources
- Providing Informal Counseling Support and Follow-Up
- Advocating For Individuals
- Providing Health Services Such As Monitoring Blood Pressure
- Making Home Visits To the Elderly and Chronically Ill Patients As Well As Those Classified As High Risk
- Translating Services
- Case-Management Service (Source, Explore Health Careers.org)
CHW’s and Health Care Teams
In West Virginia, for example, CHW’s are listed as possible members of the state’s Health Home initiative care-provider teams, which are reimbursed by Medicaid through preset payments per member. As team members, CHW’s help provide services such as follow-up care after patient discharge to avoid the need for additional medical services. CHW’s are similarly integrated in Vermont’s Community Health Teams, whose services are paid for by Medicaid, Medicare and the state’s major insurers. Vermont’s Blueprint for Health, a statewide public-private partnership focused on improving health care, uses CHW’s to provide a variety of services, such as attending medical appointments with patients and assisting with transportation or child care.
Community Health Worker Definitions and Roles
Definition of a Community Health Worker, American Public Health Association:
Community Health Workers are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of the community and/or have an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables CHW’s to serve as a liaison, link or intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. CHW’s also build 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.
Source – American Public Health Association