Road Map to a Community health worker

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Road Map to a Community health worker
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AVERAGE SALARY

$ 38,180

YEARS OF HIGHER EDUCATION

0 – 2

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WORK PERSPECTIVE

Excellent

Community health workers (ACS) are front-line public health workers who have a close understanding of the community they serve. This relationship of trust allows them to serve as liaison / liaison / intermediary between social and health services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of the provision of services.

Community health workers also develop individual and community capacity by increasing health awareness and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy. (American Public Health Association, 2008)

In January 2009, the Office of Management and Budget officially published the 2010 Standard Professional Classifications (SOC) that appear in the Federal Register. SOC 2010 includes a unique occupational classification for the community health worker (SOC 21-1094).

Community health workers are dedicated individuals who operate on a continuum from individual and community development to the delivery of services and the promotion of community empowerment and social justice. They often help to link people with the necessary information and health care services.

Community health workers work in all geographical settings, including rural, urban and metropolitan areas; border regions (colonies); and the Native American nations. Although their functions vary according to location and cultural environment, most of the time they are found working in marginalized disadvantaged communities where people may have limited resources; lack of access to quality health services; they lack the means to pay for medical assistance; Speak English fluently; or have cultural beliefs, values ​​and behaviors different from those of the dominant Western health care system. In these communities, community health workers play an integral role in helping systems to be more appropriate and culturally relevant to the people served by the systems.

Community health workers generally have deep roots or shared life experiences in the communities they serve. They share similar values, ethnic background and socioeconomic status and generally the same language as the people they serve.

The community health worker serves as a bridge between the community and the health care, government and social services systems.

The responsibilities of the community health worker can include:

Help individuals, families, groups and communities to develop their capacity and access to resources, including health insurance, food, housing, quality care and health information.

Facilitate communication and empowerment of clients in interactions with health care / social services systems.

Assistance to health and social services systems acquire cultural relevance and respond to their population of services

Help people understand their health condition (s) and develop strategies to improve their health and well-being

Help build understanding and social capital to support healthier behaviors and lifestyle choices

Delivery of health information using culturally appropriate terms and concepts

Link people with health care / social services resources

Provide informal advice, support and follow-up.

Advocate for local health needs

Provide health services, such as controlling blood pressure and providing first aid.

Home visits to patients with chronic diseases, pregnant women and nursing mothers, people at high risk of health problems and the elderly.

Translation and interpretation for clients and providers of health services / social services.

Community health workers have many titles, depending on where they work, for whom they work and what they do. Common titles include health advisor, community health advisor, family advocate, health educator, liaison, promoter, outreach worker, peer counselor, patient navigator, health interpreter, and public health assistant. In Spanish-speaking communities, health workers in the community are often referred to as health promoters or health promoters.

The role of the community health worker began as a social position, designated by and responsible to the members of the community. Advocates and activists.

They dedicated their time and talent to ensuring that local people received the information, resources and health care services they needed.

The success of their efforts has led many government agencies, non-profit organizations, religious groups, and health care providers to create paid positions for community health workers to help reduce, and in some cases eliminate, disparities persistent health care and health outcomes in disadvantaged communities. Organizations benefit by gaining access to information about health care needs in these communities, which they can use to improve the design of health services.

Working conditions | Academic requirements | Resources

Working conditions

Community health workers (CHW) often live in the community they serve.

They spend much of their time traveling within the community, talking with groups, visiting homes and health centers, distributing information and connecting with local people.

Some community health workers work in health facilities, providing case management, client education, interpretation, and follow-up care. Others are employees of government agencies and non-profit groups to provide community organizing, health education, Medicaid enrollment and preventive care services in the field.

Community health workers can:

Staff tables at community events.

Provide health exams, references and information.

Help people complete applications to access health benefits.

Visit homes to check on individuals with specific health conditions.

Take clients to medical appointments

Deliver health education presentations to schoolchildren and their parents and teachers.

Community health workers hired by health care agencies often have a disease or a population-based approach, such as promoting the health of pregnant women or children, improving nutrition, promoting immunization or providing education about a specific health problem, like diabetes or HIV / AIDS.

Community health workers are defined by the trust they receive from the communities in which they work. To be effective, community health workers must ensure, preserve and develop that trust. This can put the community health worker in a difficult position, especially when there is a disconnect between the objectives of the program and the priorities of the community. For example, communities that depend on their own traditional doctors (such as native healers) can resist the efforts of a community health worker to refer patients to Western health care resources. Community health workers must be able to balance their responsibilities with the community with their employer’s agenda.

Salary range and prospects

Throughout the United States, the field of community health worker is growing, both in interest and demand, however, the practice lacks definition, standards and training opportunities openly available. The field is also rapidly expanding into new areas of community health and well-being as community health workers continue to improve chronic disease management programs, enrollment in health insurance, immunization campaigns, HIV / AIDS treatment, access to mental health services and maternal and child health interventions.

Becoming a community health worker is almost an idiosyncratic process, involving people looking for opportunities to help their community through a mosaic of employment opportunities, often known only by word of mouth and with very demanding job requirements and situations. varied This is unfortunate because the lack of identity of community health workers and standards of practice have led employers to contribute to confusion about who community health workers are and what they do.

The salaries of community health workers vary according to local economies, salary scales and demand. In major metropolitan areas, recommended initial annual salaries range between $ 35,000 and $ 42,000, while community health workers can earn $ 42,000 to $ 52,000 and community health workers who supervise it can earn $ 52,000 a year. $ 60,000. Community health administrators generally earn salaries in excess of $ 60,000.

Community health workers are often hired to support a health initiative that This may depend on sources of short-term financing. As a result, community health workers may have to move from one job to another to obtain a stable income. This categorical short-term financing of health services is a challenge for the stability and sustainability of the community practice of health workers.

Academic requirements

The training and education requirements of community health workers (CHW) vary by state, city, employer, and labor sector. The field lacks unified training standards, so the training is usually local and, at times, driven by the employer.

Some states have regulated training through various methods, including through the development of a standardized curriculum, but there are very limited examples that follow the recommendations of published promising practices. Until a central role is agreed upon, the development of a nationally recognized curricular framework will continue to vary.

However, recently, states are beginning to develop more informed training and accreditation criteria for the leadership of community health workers and for the promising practices documented.

The establishment of training programs for community health workers also varies widely. Some states have developed university-based training, while others have implemented community-based training resources.

Today, community health workers are increasingly recognized for their contribution to community organizing, increasing access to health and improving health outcomes. This increased attention to the role of the community health worker by health care providers, community organizations and government officials has generated interest in providing adequate training and supervision.

Qualifications

The ratings for community health workers vary widely. Some employers require only a high school diploma, while others require a college degree.

Community health workers generally receive up to 100 hours of additional on-the-job training, through classroom study, job counseling or a combination.

Community health workers are not licensed, but employers can establish continuing education requirements.

Several states have begun to develop accreditation programs for community health workers. An effort is also being made to develop state and national standards for training and capacity building for community health workers.

One initiative in particular focuses primarily on collecting and sharing promising practices among community health workers to ensure that training benefits and responds to their experiences, needs and level of knowledge. This unique effort was in part a response to the limited success of the efforts of states and other regulators to impose standards on the practice without the input of community health workers and leaders.

Also in light of this growing interest in regulating practice, several independent professional associations of community health workers have recently organized to address the rapidly emerging policy issues relevant to their practice.

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