181793 Development of a Community Health Worker (CHW) Network in Chicago: CHW's/promotores and their role in building sustainable partnerships and empowering community health workers

Monday, October 27, 2008: 12:50 PM

Doris Mendez, CHW , Chicago CHW Local Network, Chicago Health Connection, Chicago, IL
Tara Kato, MPH , Health Promotions, Westside Health Authority, Chicago, IL
Kristina Davis, CHW , Department of Human Genetics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Wandy Hernandez, CD(DONA), CBE , Chicago Health Connection, Chicago, IL
Rachel Abramson, RN, MS, IBCLC , HealthConnect One, Chicago, IL
Families at the greatest health risk are often those who are least likely to be served by the health care system. Due to language barriers, cultural beliefs, or mistrust of the system, many people do not receive needed health care and preventive services. Across the United States, the Community Health Worker (CHW) is emerging as a vital link between underserved communities and health care providers. Chicago has more than 50 programs that employ CHW's or other lay health providers. CHW's are often employed on one or two-year grants with low pay and low job security. Their work is often demanding as they work to support families facing multiple challenges to their health and well-being. A new CHW Network in Chicago has brought together both CHW's and others interested in supporting the CHW role. The network is called the Chicago Community Health Workers Local Network or Red Local de Promotores. Incubated with the Chicago Health Connection since February 2007, the network has identified existing community health workers, provided continuing education and peer support through quarterly meetings, and hosted a conference attended by 146 people. Research suggests that CHW's are concerned about educational opportunities for themselves as well as serving individuals and groups to gain greater control over health problems. The Chicago CHW network envisions a society in which all residents have equal and sufficient access to health and healthcare regardless of socioeconomic status. This session will address strategies for supporting, sustaining, and expanding the CHW role in Chicago.

Learning Objectives:
Recognize the role that CHW's play in the delivery of health care in at-risk Chicago neighborhoods Identify the CHW model as an effective approach to decrease health disparities Recognize the CHW networks' impact in providing support, training, and education for CHW's Describe the impact of the CHW network in identifying existing CHW's in the Chicago area Describe the development of an independently-ran, CHW-led network in Chicago and its capacity to advocate for accessible training, formalized credentialing, and sustainable programs Discuss the structure of building sustainable partnerships with CHW stakeholders, evaluators, and advocates who support the CHW role in community-based health promotion

Keywords: Community Health Promoters, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I have worked as a steering committee member for the Network designing the programs talked about in the presentation for the past year and a half.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.