By Angela Askey, Executive Director of Public Relations & Marketing
Pinal County, Ariz. –Central Arizona College recently received notification that the Arizona Community Health Worker Association (AzCHOW) has approved the Community Health Worker Certificate (CHW) training program. The approval process included a review of the program curriculum and site visit. The CHW program is approved for five years, at which time the program will be reviewed for renewal.
The CHW program provides the core competencies and skills students need for employment opportunities within the State of Arizona. Students are introduced to Community and Public Health topics such as chronic disease management, health communication, health literacy, counseling and motivational interviewing, wellness and health advocacy. The program may be completed through distance learning and includes a 90 hour internship which can be completed almost anywhere in the State of Arizona.
The CHW program was implemented in August of 2016 and the first cohort of students graduated in August of this year. Currently the second cohort of students is working towards the CHW certificate, and will graduate in August of 2018.
The CHW Certificate Training Program at CAC was developed utilizing national and state standards for CHW core competencies. Program Coordinator/Instruction Specialist, Kim Bentley, M.Ed. NDTR, CHES, collaborated with the local workforce to develop the Community/Public Health Advisory Board. Individuals on the board include representatives from Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Greater Valley Area Health Education Center.
Community Health Workers are a front line public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has a close understanding of the community they serve. This relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison between health services and the community. A CHW builds health understanding and self-reliance in individuals within the community through a range of activities such as community outreach and education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.