Online Program

Determining the professional development needs among Community Health Workers in Ohio

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Elijah Jones, MSW, LISW, LICDC, C.CHW, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Melissa Thomas, PhD, MSPH, MSA, MCHES, CN-BP, C.CHW, Office of Health Equity, OhioHealth Research & Innovation Institute, Columbus, OH
Haley Riegel, MPH, CHES, Office of Health Equity, OhioHealth Research & Innovation Institute, Columbus, OH
Four states in the US have training laws and/or regulations for the certification of Community Health Workers (CHWs).  Ohio was the first state to require certification of CHWs and is the only state where the Board of Nursing provides the oversight of CHWs.  To date, no studies have been published regarding the ongoing professional development of CHWs. Literature mentions the need; however, the focus of research has been initial training for CHWs. The purpose of this study was to determine the professional development needs of the CHW workforce in Ohio.

Using Survey Monkey, a 29-item survey was disseminated via email through listservs, contacts, and the Ohio Board of Nursing Certified CHW list. A total of 49 responses were received and data were analyzed using SPSS version 21 software.

75% of the participants identified themselves as a certified CHW with the top professional need identified as continuing education (44.9%), followed by increased pay (30.6%), support as a professional (24.5%), and promotion of the filed/valuing community health workers (24.5%). Nearly a fourth of participants desired training in multiple areas (24.5%) followed by specific interventions (16.3).  Age and membership in a professional organization were not significantly associated with listing continuing education as a top professional need. 

Results of this study confirm our hypothesis that CHWs need ongoing continuing education.  The  information from the survey can be used to help implement professional development opportunities that will directly apply to the needs of Ohio’s CHWs Ohio and will help guide content of continuing education programs.

Learning Areas:

Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify the professional makeup of community health workers in Ohio. Name three areas of practice of community health workers in Ohio. Describe three methods of professional development for community health workers. Discuss four professional needs of Ohio community health workers.

Keyword(s): Community Health Workers and Promoters, Professional Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a certified community health worker in Ohio and previously worked as a CHW prior to receiving my master’s degree in social work. I am involved with the Ohio Community Health Worker Association, a member of APHA and NASW. In addition to my experience in community and mental health, I am an adjunct instructor at the University of Toledo and interested in professional development for health and human service professionals.
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.