265373 Community Health Workers to Health Policy Advocates: Engaging CHWs in the policy development process

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Johnny Tyler, AAS, BA, MDiv, CEA , Chicago Family Health Center, Chicago, IL
Janna Stansell, MPH , Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, Chicago, IL
Melissa A. Gutierrez, MS , Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System, Chicago, IL
Jose O. Arrom, MA , Midwest Latino Health Research, Training, and Policy Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Melanie Garrett, SSA , HealthConnect One, Illinois Early Childhood Fellow, Chicago, IL
Michael Dobias, BA , Director of Policy and Advocacy, Healthcare Consortium of Illinois, Dolton, IL
Certification is a complex topic that has generated lively debate among diverse audiences in many states. The Chicago Community Health Worker (CHW) Local Network (LN) is a diverse group of CHWs, policy analysts, researchers, and health care representatives who are dedicated to supporting the work of CHWs. For the past year, the CHW LN has worked toward developing a policy that would support CHW certification in Illinois. . To this end, the CHW LN policy committee developed a series of CHW Policy Workshops intended to engage CHWs and other stakeholders in the policy development process. The group hosted workshops in the Chicago area and will partner with other agencies to conduct workshops throughout the state to obtain a holistic view of what a constructive CHW certification policy should look like and how it should be developed. The interactive workshops focus on a variety of topics including: defining CHWs, training, supervision, funding, and lastly CHW certification and/or licensing. It was thought that if CHWs and advocates had a full understanding of the policy development process, they would be more likely to participate. Therefore, workshops begin with a brief presentation about the policy process. Thus far, over 100 people have participated in the workshops. The committee has begun to synthesize the diverse array of opinions and workshop outcomes. This presentation will discuss the process of developing a CHW certification policy workshop, the successes and challenges of implementing the workshops, and next steps in the creation of CHW certification policy in Illinois.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify opportunities for involving CHWs as leaders in a policy development process 2. Identify challenges and possible solutions to conducting a comprehensive policy development process in a large state. 3. Apply lessons learned in the process of conducting CHW policy workshops was beneficial in shaping CHW certification policy

Keywords: Public Policy, Community Health Promoters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am formerly a frontline healthcare worker and founder of the African American Family Association a non-profit organization which employed community healthcare workers as the foundation of program implementation. Currently I am the Co-Chairman of the Chicago CHW Local Network and Program Manager of a hypertension outreach program for a community health center in Chicago Illinois. For several years the Chicago CHW Local Network has led the fight in Illinois for CHW certification
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.