Community health workers conference attendees discuss CHW voluntary certification, fully integrating and financing the CHW workforce
On May 16, through a community health workshop, more than 175 people from across Arizona and throughout the nation gathered both online and at the High Country Conference Center on the Northern Arizona University campus to discuss the future of the vital community health worker (CHW) workforce.
Sometimes referred to as community health representatives or promotoras, CHWs are trusted members of vulnerable populations because they share the same ethnicity, language, and life experiences as the communities they serve.
The event explored key CHW legislation that will impact their financing and sustainability, discussed how health centers can integrate and finance CHWs and examined how CHWs can address social determinants of health and meet key healthcare accreditation milestones.
Speakers included: Kim Russell, director of the Arizona Advisory Council on Indian Health Care; Carin Watts, health disparities program manager for the Arizona Department of Health Worker Initiative; Michelle Archuleta, public health advisor with the Division of Clinical and Community Services in the Indian Health Service in the US Department of Health and Human Services; Commander Loretta Haven CHR/PHN consultant for the Office of Health Programs; Leslie Short, integrated services administrator in the Division of Fee-for-Service Management at Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS); Alex Demyan, deputy assistant director of AHCCCS in the Division of Community Advocacy and Intergovernmental Relations; Amanda Bahe, tribal liaison for the AHCCCS.
After lunch, speakers were: Maia Ingram, director of Participatory Research and Practice and co-director of the Arizona Prevention Research Center at the University of Arizona College of Public Health; Patty Molina, senior director of Community Health Services at Mariposa Community Health Center in Nogales, Arizona; Miriam Morales, manager of the Care Coordination Department at Mariposa Community Health Center; Nora Lozano, community health workers manager for Equality Health; Jodi Tate, population health director of Canyonlands; and JT Nashio, community health representative program director for the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
CHW/CHR Workforce Moving Forward: CHW/CHR leader and ally perspectives
Discussing the importance of moving the community health worker workforce forward were Jill Guernsey de Zapien, director of Border, Transborder, and Binational Public Health Collaborations at the University of Arizona College of Public Health; Mae-Gilene Begay, director of the Navajo Nation’s Community Health Representative and Outreach Program; and Floribella Redondo-Martinez, chief executive officer of the Arizona Community Health Worker Association and Community Health Worker Training Center (AzCHOW).
Samantha Sabo, associate professor for NAU’s Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) and Department of Health Sciences, moderated the event. It was funded by the Arizona Biomedical Research Centre in collaboration with NAU’s Center for Health Equity Research. Sponsors also included the AzCHOW, and the Arizona Advisory Council on Indian Health Care.