Working for Community Directed Health Solutions and Equity Community Health Workers Building the Foundation

Why Now? Since 2003 our work has yielded an approach that creates community directed solutions to health issues.  As Community Health Innovations we do this through:

Community Health Workers with Rep. Grace Diaz at the Rhode Island State House

Sign up for our program “To Become an Instructor” to teach Community Health Workers core skills.  More details here

Want to know what a Community Health Worker is?  See here

Background: Community Health Innovations is a start up organization that puts in action the research and work of the Transcultural Community Health Initiative.  “Transcultural”  is a way of imagining change in a transformational way and understanding that culture is dynamic and in flux, as opposed to the static notions we are often presented.

Since 2003 we have worked to build partnerships for ongoing collaboration with communities through frontline public health workers, the community heath worker. We have worked to promote the recognition of this valuable workforce and create mechanism for its development through education and policy.

For CHW core skills education, we believe that Community Health Worker education is valuable and necessary, and there are is a paucity of core skills courses offered in our state. Through our collaboratively developed and tested program, with CHWs, we provide CHWs with the skills and information they need to play a vital and multifaceted role in their community . With an orientation to core skills that can build  engagement and advocacy in community health, we start to lay the foundation for greater capacity for increasing a greater network of CHWs to support our diverse communities .

Our community health worker program is designed to be an entry level program, an on ramp. The program is specifically attentive to the often overlooked core skills needed to do the work. It has a specific focus on individual and community engagement.  This focus acknowledges the special talent that community health workers’ have for building relationships. In our program, community health workers will learn through an experiential learning method that honor and build on their knowledge and expertise.

On July 7th 2010 the Federal Labor Dept recognized Community Health Workers (CHWs) as a profession. With the new Health Care Reform law, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is anticipate that in 2014 when the Act goes into effect, Rhode Island will have an expected influx of approximately 95,000 people eligible for coverage (Healthcare Reform Commission Workgroup 27 jun\’11). In May of 2009, a Rhode Island’s Dept. of Labor and Training survey on Community Health Work workforce Landscape and Industry Demand, 97 % of CHW employers stated that they expected the for CHWs would remain the same or increase with within the next 5 years. This survey was done prior to the passage of the Health Reform Law. It is evident that there will be an even greater need for CHWs in years to come to enroll people in new plans and help navigate the health care system.

Rhode Island continues to have poor health outcomes despite numerous hospitals and numerous years with better insurance coverage then most other states. It ranks last in New England according to the 2010 report by America’s Health Ranking.   Measurement and data collection is important but not sufficient to have an impact unless acted on. Our program promises a new approach to act on the poor health outcome of our state by engaging communities in the process.

Our program works to increase the community based community health worker to better facilitate health care and social service access and navigation.  Our program creates the foundation for community heath workers and their community to create dynamic processes for collaborative work.  It will start where the community is and work with them to identify their health issues and devise plans and solutions to improve the health and well being of their community.

Community Health Innovations provides a center for action.

Join us in our taking action and movement forward to address our state’s poor health through community engagement, efforts and action.

See Keystone course to learn more about us.

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