255822 Advocating for a California Association of Community Health Workers: Building a representative, culturally inclusive, professional peer coalition

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Carol West, CHW; BSC OT; MBBCH; DCH , Community Health Worker Initiative of Sonoma County (CHWISC), Petaluma, CA
Stephanie Merrida-Grant, CHW , Community Health Worker Initiative of Sonoma County (CHWISC.org), Petaluma, CA
Cynthia Morfin, CHW , Community Health Worker Initiative of Sonoma County (CHWISC.org), Petaluma, CA
“Think globally but act locally” is the mobilizing premise of the Community Health Workers (CHW) who in January 2011 founded the Community Health Worker Initiative of Sonoma County in California. Using core CHW competency skills we are building relationships in our community with frontline health workers, with many different job titles and diverse cultural back grounds, whose scope of practice falls within the APHA definition of a CHW. Attending regional and national conferences that support the professional development of CHWs, facilitated our learning about health policy advances made in other states, peer support models that are successfully supporting the professional role and scope of practice of the of the CHW throughout the USA. Learning from the national leaders in our field has expedited the process of organizational development of our own peer support network , building local leadership capacity, promoting cultural humility and inclusivity, advocating for lifelong learning, ongoing professional development and self advocacy. Our work is extremely challenging. If we are to be effective builders of healthy communities and advocates for our families, friends and neighbors, we must first build our own professional community at a local, regional state and national level to keep our hope and tenacity alive to motivate the work that still must be done to build a more equitable and just health care system in our country. While we are excited about the possibilities that the affordable health care act might bring; we share what can be done with passion, vision and commitment.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. List the top ten job titles of Community Health Workers in California 2. Name five established networks of Community Health Workers in California 3. Identify two challenges to the formation of a statewide representative association of Community Health Workers in California 4. Evaluate the progress made in building a statewide, culturally diverse, Community Health Worker Association in California 5. Discuss how solutions to challenges facing California might also be applied to the formation of a representative American Association of Community Health Workers

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Cultural Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Community Health Worker with a an Associates Degree in Community Health from the Santa Rosa Junior College in Sonoma County, California. An immigrant from South Africa where I graduated from the University of Witwatersrand first as an Occupational Therapist and then as a Medical Doctor. One of the founders and Executive Director of the Community Health Worker Initiative of Sonoma County and a member of the APHA CHW Section Policy committee.
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.