Community health workers (CHWs)—also known as community health representatives (CHRs) and promotoras—know their community best. Unlike most other healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, CHWs deliver essential support to their clients, often in their clients’ homes.
Since CHWs work in remote locations throughout the state, the Arizona Community Engagement Alliance (AzCEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities created a seven-part video training series on COVID-19 vaccines for CHW’s continuing education.
Called “CHWs Responding to COVID: Understanding the COVID-19 Vaccines,” the video series is a resource for CHWs to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines. It also equips them to serve as a source of information for their communities, answer their questions, offer them reliable resources, and help them make decisions around COVID-19 vaccination.
Integral health workforce that still makes house calls
With their close relations to their community members, CHWs have a unique understanding of their community’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, including their challenges, concerns, fears, and misinformation.
“CHWs are critical players in preventing disease, including COVID-19, and promoting health in their communities, and provide all kinds of assistance to their clients,” said Ruby Meraz, director of specialized training at the Arizona Community Health Worker Association (AzCHOW). “We created these videos in an effort to support the important work CHWs are conducting across the state.”
AzCHOW is part of AzCEAL, a partnership between Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Mayo Clinic, and the Arizona Community Health Worker Association. Together with members and leaders of African American, Latino/a, and Native American communities, CEAL aims to provide trustworthy COVID-19 information through active community engagement and outreach to the people hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
AZ CEAL develops innovative training from research
To create these seven-part video series, AzCEAL conducted a series of focus groups with 30 Hispanic or Latinx CHWs. During their focus group sessions, participating CHWs identified priority training topics they needed to better support their clients and respond to concerns around the COVID-19 vaccines. A report detailing the focus groups and findings is available online.
The videos offer a comprehensive course on COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. and include the topics:
- Introduction to the vaccine video series.
- COVID-19 vaccines currently available.
- Development of COVID-19 vaccines
- Addressing questions and concerns to help people decide whether to get vaccinated.
- Tips and tricks for talking with clients about the vaccines.
- Common vaccine myths and facts.
- Additional resources to stay informed on COVID-19 and the vaccines.
Although developed with CHWs and the communities served in mind, the videos can be accessed online by anyone interested in learning more about the COVID-19 vaccines.
“As dedicated public health liaisons, CHWs have been on the ground helping their clients overcome challenges across the social determinants of health during the COVID-19 pandemic and long before, doing this work with a truly unique heart and passion” said Dulce Jiménez, research coordinator who conducted the CHW focus groups at the Northern Arizona University’s Center for Health Equity Research (CHER).
For more information on the video series and CHW focus group report, visit the AZ CEAL page.