Online Program

CHWs in housing: Building healthy communities from the ground up

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kathy Burgoyne, PhD, Foundation for Healthy Generations, Seattle, WA
Nancy Vignec, Tacoma Housing Authority, Tacoma, WA
Gretchen Hansen, BA, Commprehensive Health Education Foundation, Seattle, WA
Annie Vo, Salishan Housing Development, Tacoma, WA
Historically, CHWs have been community organizers who promote the health of individuals, communities, and society. Many current efforts seem to focus on narrowly defining the CHW role as increasing access to services*. In this presentation we highlight how low-income housing residents, with the assistance of CHEF and Housing Authority staff, developed and facilitated their own CHW program in order to mobilize community members to take charge of their health and the health of their community.

As part of this program, the CHWs designed and implemented community gardens, community kitchens, walking groups and senior activities based on resident feedback. They helped community groups reach out to community members to promote healthy communities. For example, CHW's assisted the Housing Authority get honest feedback from residents while implementing a no-smoking policy.

The CHWs' training consisted of an Orientation focused on the local community and Patient Navigator Training which the CHWs helped to test-pilot in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Health, and is offered across State for CHWs and their supervisors.

During the program's first year, the inaugural team of CHWs was instrumental in recruiting the second team and provided mentorship and leadership to them as they completed training and began community outreach. CHWs have assisted in efforts with local partners to build a CHW coalition.

The role of CHWs has particular relevance to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because they can be the glue bridging clinical preventative services and community based prevention. *Noelle Wiggins, Personal Communication

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe a CHW in public housing model and its benefits. Identify opportunities for CHWs to foster healthy communities by developing and leading community-wide prevention activities. Explain how key partnerships promote success. Identify initial evaluation results. Discuss the potential impact on the residents and implications for health care reform.

Keyword(s): Prevention, Community Building

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Coordinator of CHW project in low-income housing. I recruit, train, supervise the CHWs and oversee the project. I assisted in piloting Patient Navigator training with Washington State Department of Health and contract as trainer. I am participating in efforts to expand/replicate the project and to build a CHW coalition.
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.