Community health workers in Washington are getting better at their jobs.
That’s according to the results of a state-wide program survey published by the Washington State Department of Health’s Office of Healthy Communities. Since 2011, the program has trained over 1000 people in the role of community health worker (CHW) in everything from core competencies such as organizational skills to health-specific topics such as behavioral health care.
People working in a CHW role are frontline health workers who perform cultural mediation between communities and health and human services, provide counseling and health education, advocate for their clients and provide direct services. They also may be called advisors, advocates, promoters, patient navigators, and promontoras, among other titles.
The evaluation looked at how 375 participants and 80 employers have used the skills they learned in the program. The results are overwhelmingly positive. About 90 percent of respondents would recommend the program and the majority have applied information and skills from their training in the last year.
Talance, Inc., CWHTraining’s parent company, has been working with the Office of Healthy Communities since the training program’s inception. It has to worked with the Washington team to develop custom curricula in topics including oral health and tobacco cessation. Washington also licenses some of what were identified some the most popular modules in the survey, including health literacy and health insurance.
A few highlights from the report:
- A majority of participants who worked as a CHW in the past year reported applying information and skills learned from the each of the Core Competencies. Participants most frequently cited applying information about communication (85%), cultural competency (79%), and CHW roles and boundaries (79%).
- Participants most frequently applied information and skills from the Prediabetes and Diabetes optional module in their work as CHWs (48%), followed by Health Literacy (42%), Behavioral Health (39%), and Navigating Health Insurance (38%).
- Employers considered most of the optional Health Specific Continuing Education Lessons important in the work their staff does as CHWs, especially health disparities and social determinants, behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse/addiction), health literacy, and nutrition/active living.
- The top 5 health issues participants worked on as CHWs included accessing health services, women’s health, nutrition, diabetes prevention and management, and physical activity.
Participants listed some of the top benefits as a result of the program as connecting people to information and resources in their communities, as well as gaining knowledge, skills, tools and resources to be used on the job.
Employers also weighed in, citing reasons for enrolling their staff in the program, which is offered by the state for free, and the importance of learned skills.
Read the entire Training Program Evaluation Report (scroll to “Training Program Evaluation Report” under Important Links) and learn more about Washington’s program.
- Washington State Department of Health’s Community Health Worker Training Program - A free eight week combination of online and in-person training designed to strengthen the common skills, knowledge and abilities of the community health worker.
- CHWTraining – CHWTraining provides online training programs to organizations that serve the community's health care needs. We transform passionate community members into agents of change.
- Talance, Inc. – Curriculum consulting, learning technology and program building for public good organizations.
How Health Insurance Works
Educate your team in the basics of health insurance and how to support their clients with Navigating Health Insurance.