About the Community Health Worker Project
The Health Collaborative is a cross-sector group of residents who work together to improve the health and well-being of the Dan River Region. The Collaborative has built teams of dedicated volunteers to work on the topics of healthy eating, active living, access to healthcare and creating healthy spaces. Through this collaboration, the Community Health Worker (CHW) initiative was created to improve clients’ abilities to manage their health. IALR serves as the fiscal agent for the project, administered by Project Manager Amanda Young. The CHW is a public health worker who is a trusted member of the community. This trusting relationship allows for the CHW to serve as a link between healthcare, social services and community members to increase access to services and improve health management.
The program has proven to not only benefit its clients but also the CHWs. As of April 2018, the Community Health Worker position is now a certifiable position in Virginia. Via the Health Worker Legacy Application, existing CHWs who meet requirements established by the Virginia Certification Board have the opportunity to apply for certification. The Board established a CHW certification training program for individuals interested in becoming CHWs. The Danville project has six CHWs who have applied and received their certification and one who is currently eligible and in the process of doing so. The others will accomplish all requirements that are needed and submit their applications before the October 2019 deadline. Since the creation of the local program, three CHWs have graduated to higher healthcare positions and three CHWs are pursuing higher education in health-related fields, indicating the relevance of the program.
Visit the Health Collaborative website for more information, including recent news and a calendar of events, and to learn how to get involved in creating a healthier community.