Online Program

Developing a stackable CHW certification curriculum with an emphasis on mental health as part of an integrated care model

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Katharine Nimmons, MSc, MPH, Center for Community Health Development's National CHW Training Center, TX A&M School of Public Health, College Station, TX
Eron Manusov, M.D., Family Medicine Residency, University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio, Edinburg, TX
John Ronnau, College of Health Sciences & Human Services, University of Texas Pan American, Edinburg, TX
Nick Nevers, Family Medicine Residency Program, Doctors Hospital Renaissance, Edinburg, TX
Francisco Fernandez, M.D., School of Medicine, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Harlingen, TX
Deepu George, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio, Edinburg, TX
Paula Saldana, CHW, CHWI, Texas A&M School of Rural Health, College Station, TX
Dinorah Martinez, CHW, CHWI, Center for Community Health Development, Texas A&M School of Rural Health, College Station, TX
The South Texas Integrated Team Collaborative for Health (STITCH) members adapted an existing Community Health Worker/Promotora (CHW/P) certification curriculum to incorporate an increased emphasis on evidence-based, community-driven mental and behavioral health content. The resulting curriculum will be certified by the Texas Department of State Health Services CHW/Promotora Training and Certification Program for use across the state. Additionally, STITCH members are developing continuing education trainings related to mental health through the local community college, creating a ‘stackable’ education ladder and career path for CHW/Ps.

By training new CHW/Ps to identify mental health needs in their communities, extend mental health services into colonias (unincorporated neighborhoods without access to city infrastructure and services), and coordinate mental health services for underserved residents, the STITCH program uses culturally competent and community-based strategies to address mental health needs in South Texas. Access to mental health services is an unmet need in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley, where many of the region’s predominately Hispanic residents are underinsured or uninsured; living below the Federal Poverty Level; and experience access barriers to healthcare. The STITCH program strengthens the regional CHW/P workforce, by increasing the number of trained CHW/Ps, offering sequential training ladders, and developing a model of true inter-professional collaboration. CHW/Ps work closely with nurses, physicians, PharmDs, social workers, behavioral scientists, nutritionists, and health professionals to provide integrated primary care and deliver mental health services, strengthening the capacity of individual CHWs and the healthcare team to improve community health outcomes. 

Notes: Presenter is a CHW/P instructor; CHW/Ps are contributing authors.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the development of a CHW certification curriculum with a mental health focus Describe the collaborative development of a ‘stackable’ credentialing model for CHWs involving a community based consortium, academic medical programs, a community college, and a certified CHW training center Explain how CHWs with mental health training are involved in the integrated care and interprofessional development programs in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Community Health Workers and Promoters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I direct the National CHW Training Center within the Center for Community Health Development, Texas A&M School of Public Health. I am a Texas certified Promotora/Community Health Worker Instructor. Our training center's curriculum served as the base for the adapted mental health-focused CHW curriculum, and I worked closely with the other authors to develop the mental health adaptations.
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.