Catherine Fredenburgh, MA1, Vincent Guilin, BA1, and Laura Dean, MEd2. (1) TEACH/HBS Initiatives, GMHC, 119 West 24th - 6th Floor, New York City, NY 10011, 646 326 7017, email@example.com, (2) Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University -Mailman School of Public Health, 119 West 24th - 6th Floor, New York City, NY 10011
Issues: Community-based AIDS service organizations need workers who are equipped to develop culturally-specific interventions that work within existing community structures. Although community health workers are well-positioned to facilitate such interventions, most are employed solely as outreach workers and receive insufficient or no training.
Description: A partnership between a large and established community-based organization, and investigators from a school of public health resulted in the implementation of the TEACH Initiative which provided competency-based training to 31 interns from community-based organizations serving MSM of color. The program focused on equipping interns with the tools needed to translate their knowledge of their communities into innovative, evaluation-ready, behavioral science-based HIV prevention interventions. Those who successfully completed all six tracks of study were certified as Community Health Specialist (CHS).
Lessons Learned: As community health workers are vital to the future of HIV prevention efforts, training and certification for this caste of workers is needed to expand their roles within AIDS service organizations. Challenges to implementing such a wide-scale capacity-building program include resolving clashes between educational and organizational cultures; adapting organizational structures to accommodate increased worker capacity; and continuing certification efforts in the face of worker turnover.
Recommendations: A smaller cohort of interns is advisable, due to low attrition from the program. This would also decrease significantly the length of this 18 month program. Frequent communication and spirited collaboration between all parties in such an educational initiative are needed to make certification meaningful and to capitalize on increased worker capacity and mobility.
Keywords: Certificate Program, Community Capacity
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA