Online Program

Journey to certification of community health workers (CHWs) in Illinois

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Leticia Boughton, HealthConnect One, Chicago, IL
Amparo Castillo, MD, PhD, Midwest Latino Health Research, Training and Policy Center, University of Illinois at Chicago - Midwest Latino Health Research Training and Policy Center, Chicago, IL
Venoncia Bate-Ambrus, MSOL, PhD (c), College of Arts & Science, Community Psychology Program, National Louis University, Chicago, IL
Background: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) calls for the engagement of CHWs in health care, and many states are now seeking ways to support and strengthen the Community Health Worker model. In Illinois, the Chicago Community Health Workers Local Network (CCHWLN) and partner organizations are considering ways by which CHW training and certification can be standardized to promote and support CHWs in the state. Purpose: In 2011, the CCHWLN initiated an assessment of CHWs and their employers' perceptions and expectations regarding training and certification. This abstract reports on the considerations pertaining to the benefits, challenges and governance of CHW certification. Methods: Data were collected using focus groups and an online survey. Three coders conducted the qualitative data analysis. Results: Seventy nine CHWs and 42 stakeholders (employers, supervisors, trainers, etc.) participated in seven focus groups conducted in Chicago and its suburbs; 83 responded to the online survey. Respondents identified as main benefits, the marketability and portability of certification. Main challenges and concerns related to potential exclusion of CHWs due to language, costs, immigration status, etc. Regarding governance, respondents recommended a Certification Board composed of 50% CHWs with other members elected by CHWs and with limited participation by state government. Its functions should be recognized statewide, and include strategic policy planning, certification of individuals and training organizations; approval of curricula, ethics and disciplinary actions. Discussion: These findings serve to identify proper processes and models of certification implementation, and should be taken into account for the formulation of policy and systems change.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify the perceived benefits of certification of CHW's Discuss the concerns and challenges associated with engaging in the process of certification. Formulate sensible recommendations for policy change to facilitate certification for CHW’s at the state level.

Keyword(s): Community Health Promoters, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently the Network Coordinator and formally the Board Chair of the Chicago Community Health Workers Local Network which led the effort to obtain the information and I am responsible for disseminating the outcomes.
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.