Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center’s
Community Health Worker Program
The Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center (ESAHEC) offers an entry-level 80-hour Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Program as well as a comprehensive 160-hour curriculum designed to equip CHWs with the practical skills, knowledge and tools to access health information, conduct health education and promotion, assist with disease prevention and chronic disease management, make referrals, coordinate services and navigate the health care system for their clients and communities in a culturally responsive manner.
What is a Community Health Worker (CHW)?
According to the American Public Health Association (APHA):
A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.
ESAHEC, along with the Maryland AHEC Program, AHEC West and Baltimore AHEC, have developed a unified, statewide CHW Training Program based on the recommendations of the Maryland Workgroup for Workforce Development of Community Health Workers as well as the competencies identified in the national C3 Project led by CHW consultant Carl Rush. Training modules incorporate the identified eleven Maryland core competencies and C3 skills and are as follows:
- Effective oral and written communication skills
- Cultural competency
- Knowledge of local resources and system navigation
- Advocacy and community capacity building skills
- Care Coordination
- Teaching skills to promote healthy behavior change
- Outreach methods and strategies
- Ability to bridge needs and identify resources
- Understanding of public health concepts and health literacy
- Understanding of ethics and confidentiality issues
- Ability to use and understand health information technology
In addition to the Core Trainings, CHWs are trained in health promotion topics such as diabetes, behavioral health, asthma, nutrition and other topics relevant to the particular need of the agency.
Participants receive a Certificate of Completion following the CHW Training Program.
Continuing Education is offered to provide refreshers on past topics as well to address any new training needs.
We are proud to partner with many agencies, organizations and health care systems to deliver a relevant and innovative CHW Training Program. Some of our partners include: Associated Black Charities, Maryland AHEC Program Office, AHEC West, Baltimore AHEC, New Jersey AHEC Community Health Worker Institute (CHWI), Maryland Healthy Weighs, Mid Shore Local Improvement Coalition, Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Eastern Shore Mobile Crisis, Peninsula Home Care, Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC, Inc.), Choptank Community Health System, Peninsula Regional Medical Center and local health departments.
Since 2013, ESAHEC has trained four cohorts of CHWs who are empowering clients to take greater control over their health and their lives. As the CHW movement grows and gains recognition as a viable solution to the Triple Aim (better health, better care, lower cost), ESAHEC will continue to promote the role of the Community Health Worker in team-based health care and build the CHW workforce one CHW at a time.
Cohort 1 – Spring/Summer 2013 – Health Enterprise Zone Initiative – Caring Connections
Four Associated Black Charities Community Health Outreach Workers serve Dorchester and Caroline counties to provide outreach and health promotion.
Cohort 2 – Spring 2014 – Mid Shore Local Health Improvement Coalition
“Building Community Capacity to Improve Minority Chronic Disease Outcomes”
Nine Community Health Workers serving Kent, Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester counties work to address health disparities and reduce hospital readmissions.
Cohort 3 – Spring/Summer 2015 – Dorchester/Caroline HEZ
Nine Community Health Workers serving Dorchester, Caroline, Talbot and Kent counties were training to address health disparities and reduce hospital readmissions. Trainer, Wanda Molock, left. Trainer, Lisa Widmaier, right. Two CHWs missing from photo.
Cohort 4 – Spring/Summer 2015 – Project Living Well
Eight Community Health Workers employed by Peninsula Home Care and Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC, Inc.) were trained to provide services to residents of Wicomico and Worcester counties.
Cohort 5 – Fall 2015
Ten community health workers from Worcester County Health Department, Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC, Inc.), Peninsula Home Care, Choptank Community Health System, Crisfield Clinic and Atlantic General Hospital completed the 80 hour training program held at the MAC center in Salisbury.
Links to publications regarding Community Health Care Workers: