CHWTraining Adds “Cervical Cancer and HPV” to its Chronic Illness Online Course Library

Online training offers evidence-based guidance to community-focused health workers who support women in vulnerable populations, aiming to lower their risk of cervical cancer and HPV infection through preventive and early detection methods

Woburn, Mass., April. 3, 2020 – Talance, a trusted provider of curriculum development and training technology to the healthcare industry, has added a new online course to address disparities in cervical cancer rates based on socioeconomic factors. “Cervical Cancer and HPV” is ideal for community health workers, promotores, case managers, patient navigators, support staff, and volunteers.

This web-based course demonstrates ways women can lower their risk of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer through prevention and early detection. HPV infections can cause precancerous cell changes, resulting in cervical cancer. The course content includes symptoms, risk factors, screening tests, diagnosis, and treatment. It also covers screening guidelines and information about the HPV vaccine. Finally, course takers will identify barriers to care and ways to address those barriers.

“Social determinants of health make a big impact on cervical cancer screening,” says Monique Cuvelier, president of Talance, Inc., and CHWTraining. “People who live in rural areas and who come from a low socioeconomic background simply don’t get screened for cancer enough, and they don’t get the HPV vaccine that can really help. Our mission is to end that.”

In most Western countries, cervical cancer is highly preventable, thanks to the general availability of screening tests and a vaccine to prevent HPV infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), when cervical cancer is detected early, “it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.”

In many areas, women cannot access HPV screening, which means cases are going undetected. Lower rates of preventive screening mean worse health outcomes in underserved populations. Cervical cancer has been called “a disease of poverty.” A CDC study conducted from 2011 to 2015 compared the incidence and mortality rate of cervical cancer in the poorest and most affluent counties in the state of Ohio. Results showed that the rate of cervical cancer incidence was almost twice as high for women living in the poorest counties compared to their affluent counterparts, and the mortality rate was more than twice as high.

The CHWTraining course “Cervical Cancer and HPV” will teach health workers the skills and knowledge needed to reach and educate at-risk populations in poor communities. At the end of the course, health workers will be able to help connect women in such underserved communities with prevention and early detection resources.

About CHWTraining

CHWTraining provides online training technology tools to organizations that want to transform health in America’s communities by carefully coaching their workers. It’s perfect for training new employees who need core competencies or standardizing training for existing staff—on their own time. The assessment-based certificates confirm that participants can demonstrate their knowledge.

About Talance

At Talance, we believe we all have a civic responsibility to help build healthy communities. Since 2000, we’ve collaborated with educators, advocates, health practitioners, governments, and employers to drive positive, lasting change in the environments where people live and work. Talance delivers community health education and technology that is trusted by clients across the nation, who rely on our expertise to create custom curricula or tap into our original course library that is developed by a professional team of industry leaders.

Interested in educating your team in Cervical Cancer and HPV? Contact us to learn more at www.chwtraining.org/contact.

Related: Chronic illness education and training for teams

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A simple guide to coronavirus to share with patients and clients

Here’s a simple guide to COVID-19 that you can share with your clients and patients.

By Eliana Ifill

For the past few weeks, the talk about coronavirus and COVID-19 has spread all over the news, social media networks, and even daily chats with everyone in your life.

But what exactly is COVID-19?

Understand COVID-19

First, let’s distinguish between coronavirus and COVID-19:

  • Coronavirus is a type of virus known to cause several diseases to humans and some animals. These diseases can range from mild, like the common cold, to severe, like pneumonia.
  • COVID-19, on the other hand, means “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is the illness caused by a type of coronavirus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

[Related: Health Insurance Updates]

How does COVID-19 spread?

The easiest way for the virus to go from one person to another is through direct contact with respiratory (through the nose or mouth) droplets from someone who is infected.

The virus can be spread by coming into contact with objects that have been contaminated. The virus may be able to last for days or even weeks on surfaces, according to National Institutes of Health. This research means that people may get the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects.

How can you tell if you or someone has COVID-19?

While there’s evidence to believe that some patients show no signs of illness while infected with SARS-CoV-2, there are symptoms you can keep an eye on. A dry cough, fever, and trouble breathing are signs of COVID-19.

COVID-19 is similar to a cold or flu, but differs in a few key ways:

  • A cold will usually cause a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, and fatigue.
  • A flu tends to include a fever or chills, body aches, and even weakness.

While everyone is at risk, COVID-19 affects older patients, patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, and those with suppressed immune systems the hardest.

Here’s an important takeaway from the CDC: “Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can cause people to avoid or reject others even though they are not at risk for spreading the virus.” The CDC shares this and other facts for clients and patients on the web or through this downloadable document (PDF).

Prevent COVID-19

Basic hygiene and some social changes can help keep you and people around you healthy. Some tips to remember:

  • Cover your face when sneezing or coughing, preferably with a disposable tissue, and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.
  • Wash your hands carefully and regularly to prevent anything you’ve come in contact with from entering your body. This means with soap and water for 20 seconds.

On LinkedIn, health care consultant Dr. Nicolas Argy says these are some of the most common mistakes with handwashing.

“You are fastidious: you wash constantly. You think it is time because you touched a potential dirty surface.

1 You turn on the water
2 You wash thoroughly for 20 seconds
3 You turn off the water

Perfect, right?

NO WRONG

The faucet is contaminated because you touched it with dirty hands. Use a wipe or paper towel or tissue to turn off the water or else you recontaminate yourself.”

  • Avoid touching your face to stop the virus from reaching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
  • Declutter your home, workspace, or wherever you’re spending the most time. An empty desk is easier to clean and you’re removing surface areas where the virus might hide.
  • Stay home. Avoid crowded areas and stay at least six feet away from others—if you can smell the garlic they ate last night or their deodorant, you’re too close. Don’t ride the elevator in groups, and avoid public transportation if possible.
  • If you must go out, remove your “outside clothes” as soon as you can when you’re home, and put them directly in the washing machine. If you can’t, keep a separate basket for dirty clothes only. Avoid touching things like your bed or couch before cleaning up.

The WHO’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public has detailed materials and videos you can download and share.

If you have caught the virus, it’s very important that you continue to practice these tips to prevent exposing others to the disease. Since there is no known cure, as with colds and the flu, preventing COVID-19 from spreading is the only way to stop this pandemic for now.

10 skills CHWs can learn right now—without leaving the couch

Use at-home time to brush up on existing skills or pick up some new ones.

The now-global spread of coronavirus is affecting everyone. This disease has brought a host of medical, economic, and political problems. It’s brought all of us—CHWs, supervisors, program managers, clients, and patients alike–a ton of uncertainty and anxiety. This can have an enormous impact on everyone’s emotional and physical wellbeing.

Whenever you’re feeling unsure and anxious about the things you can’t control, it can be helpful to focus on the things you can control, such as your education. While you or your staff might be stuck at home or in a quiet facility, the Internet is still on. So rather than panic-scrolling through social media feeds about toilet paper, put that energy into picking up some new skills or improving the ones you already have.

[Related: The 27 New Skills You Can Now Learn on CHWTraining]

10 Skills CHWs Can Learn from Home

They say there is no such thing as useless knowledge. These 10 skills are definitely worth learning—and learning them can make time based at home time well spent. In the future, these skills form a great workforce development path and can make each CHW a better worker.

  1. Meditation and mindfulness techniques
  2. Depression, Anxiety and Stress
  3. COVID-19
  4. Smoking cessation
  5. Chronic illness
  6. Immunizations
  7. Motivational Interviewing interventions
  8. Healthy cooking
  9. Hand hygiene
  10. Language

1. Meditation and mindfulness techniques

Relaxation and mindfulness are skills that can help you in your personal and professional life—especially now when everything feels uncertain. Mindfulness practices can help people manage stress, deal with serious illness, and reduce anxiety and depression, according to the NIH. These are helpful skills to pass on to clients, employees, and the people around you.

“The most important thing to know when starting a meditation or mindfulness practice is that there is no right or wrong way to ‘do’ it,” says Laura Wells, a facilitator and coach who works with individuals, teams, and organizations to increase focus and build compassionate leadership.

“It is simply about learning to relax into the present moment — there’s nothing we have to, or can, ‘do’ to make the present moment happen. This is about allowing the space for a minute or two or five to not be in charge of what’s occurring. Simply breathing and bringing attention to what is already here in our experience.”

If you want to practice now, you can join Wells for a free 30-minute virtual meditation and connection session Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020, 12:10 PM Pacific Time. Click here to join and use meeting ID: 144 588 211.

2. Depression, Anxiety and Stress


Nearly everyone is feeling depression, anxiety, and stress right now, so it helps you and anyone you work with if you can pick up management skills. Start by recognizing the symptoms of depression from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Then what to do if you see them in yourself or in another. This guide will help you understand when it’s time to make a behavioral health referral.

Supervisors and program managers supporting a community health team with limited resources can easily feel overwhelmed. You have to think about self-care strategies to share, how to help them control stress, and spot signs of burnout and compassion fatigue.

Sign up for Supporting Mental Wellness in CHW Teams, a free on-demand session on improving your team’s mental wellness, identify signs that an employee is at risk for depression, anxiety, or secondary trauma, and show you how you can help your team improve their personal and professional lives.

3. COVID-19

If you’re looking to learn more about coronavirus, then the WHO is the place to start for any health professional. The OpenWHO Massive Online Open Courses for COVID-19 provide learning resources for health professionals, decision-makers, and the public. As the pandemic continues to evolve, new resources will be added, additional language versions will continue to be rolled out, and existing courses will be updated to best reflect the changing context. Some sample courses are “Operational Planning Guidelines to Support Country Preparedness and Response” and “Infection Prevention and Control.”

4. Smoking cessation and vaping


People with unhealthy lungs are particularly at risk for complications from coronavirus, and many other health issues. Learning about these risks can help you talk clearly to clients who smoke. There’s plenty of new information regarding severe lung disease associated with using vaping devices and e-cigarette products, so now is a time to learn about that, especially among youth.

“There are many websites, webinars and listserves available for folks to learn the latest on commercial tobacco and vaping,” Says Norilyn de la Peña, Cessation and Outreach Project Manager at Public Health — Seattle & King County. It’s important to seek resources that are credible. People want information on what vaping products are how to have effective conversations about their use. She suggests learning about these tobacco cessation and vaping education topics for all providers:

  • What the products are and how they are used
  • Why it’s important to keep flavored tobacco and nicotine from youth (affects on brain and lung development, increase chance of addiction, increase likelihood of tobacco use, etc.)
  • Media literacy and tobacco and vape marketing intentionally target low-income communities
  • The importance of sharing valid information from appropriate online resources
  • How to talk to young people about vaping
  • Alternatives to nicotine and tobacco use; positive stress management and coping skills
  • What resources are available

She recommends the following general resources:

  • Truth Initiative
  • AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • SCLC (Smoking Cessation Leadership Center)

Public Health — Seattle & King County’s website has Lung disease related to vaping and e-cigarette use. It has an excellent collection of materials, templates, and FAQs for providers, partners, and schools on understanding vaping and how it affects the lungs.

5. Chronic illness

CHWs are vital to successfully managing and avoiding chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. Since CHWs are health brokers who can connect providers with communities, take some time to learn more about the chronic diseases in your community and how CHWs can help.

If you’re a program manager or administrator new to CHWs, do some deep reading on building the policies and systems that support CHWs to see how they fit in with your organization. Start with the excellent document “Addressing Chronic Disease Through Community Health Workers: A Policy and Systems-Level Approach,” (PDF) from the CDC. Then take some time to watch Examining Community Health Worker Models in Managing Chronic Conditions.

If you’re a CHW, you can learn how chronic illness and mental health are closely linked. This video Ask an Expert – Depression and Chronic Illness Webinar (1:19) explores the relationship between depression and Nephrotic Syndrome, specifically, but the topic relates to people living with many chronic diseases.

CHWs can also save on CHWTraining’s chronic illness bundle. It helps you master working with clients with breast cancer (Breast Cancer Screening), cervical cancer (Cervical Cancer Screening and HPV), Diabetes and Prediabetes, and High Blood Pressure (Hypertension). Along the way, you’ll learn how to screen for disease, talk to clients, and connect to resources in your agency and community.

6. Immunizations


Parents and individuals are too reluctant to get vaccines, thanks in part to too much mistaken information. Patient education is an important way to let people know that vaccinations have an excellent safety record and are an important part of preventing serious diseases. A simple flu shot, covered by many health plans, is the best way for people to protect themselves and their children from getting the influenza.

The AAP is an excellent resource for educating parents and any individual on immunizations. It includes the recommended immunization schedule, information for parents, and communication tips for the conversations you’ll have with parents.

7. Motivational Interviewing interventions

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a technique you can use to help people discover their own reasons for positive change in a non-confrontational way. It was originally developed as a way to help people quit smoking, but MI techniques can be used for helping people make any kind of behavioral change.

Demonstration and practice are the best ways to learn and improve your MI skills, so spend some time reviewing some sample intervention videos, such as these:

8. Healthy cooking


Nutrition and health are closely related, from a healthy diet helping children grow up to avoid chronic diseases to managing—and maybe even reversing—conditions like diabetes. Learning healthy cooking is an excellent skill you can pass on to your clients, and your own family.

Try My Doctor – Kaiser Permanente, which has many how-to videos, ranging from short-and-sweet lessons like Add Flavor Without Salt (2:33) for hypertension, to Tips for Cooking Healthier (2:01), to in-depth webinars like Fresh Food Ideas (1:01:00) for parents.

9. Hygiene

Time to get serious about hand hygiene. Learn, demonstrate, repeat.

10. Language

Communication is a key skill for CHWs, and being able to speak and understand more than English helps. Learning a foreign language, such as Spanish for English-speakers or English for Spanish-speakers, is a great way to unlock better employment options and connect clients to resources.

Smart phone apps like Duolingo are great vocabulary builders, and you can do them whenever you have a few free minutes. Another fun one is Lirica, which matches language with pop music. It takes the music from such musicians as Enrique Iglesias and turns it into Spanish vocabulary and grammar lessons.

Keep building skills

Just reading a PDF or a PowerPoint presentation isn’t enough to really learn. Practice your skills as soon as you can. Keep refreshing your skills once you’ve learned something. Bookmark this page so you can keep revisiting these resources and keep them fresh.

Online Training Beginner’s Guide for Program Managers

Online Training Beginner’s Guide for Program Managers

Health agencies, systems, and state and local departments have never had so much technology at their fingertips. Training technology and online courses have developed just in time to meet the rising workforce of community health workers (CHWs). Now is when you want to move your training online.

Online learning is also a logical way to train teams of all sizes while containing the coronavirus outbreak. Workshops and conferences are either canceled, such as Northwest Rural Health Conference, or going virtual, such as The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), in the wake of COVID-19.

[Related: The Top CHW Conferences of 2020]

Moving training online also means you can quickly get staff up to speed on requirements and new skills exactly when you need it. A course on immunizations, hygiene, or home visit safety can sit at the ready for exactly when CHWs need skill refreshers or new information to deliver clients.

“The reality is that remote work cultures are on the rise as more individuals and team leadership have come to understand the value and advantages of this work structure,” says Robert Glazer, a capacity-building and leadership consultant and author of the book Elevate. He gives tips on migrating teams to work from home in a recent article.

Number of people who would like to work remotely
Image: Buffer

CHWs appreciate being able to learn online, according to the learner feedback through CHWTraining courses and our partner courses. Being able to use forum posts, for example, can keep the conversation flowing over the entire duration of a course. And many like being able to review materials whenever they want a refresher.

“I like that the forum posts were interactive,” said one health promoter who took CHWTraining’s Diabetes and Prediabetes. “They’re a good way to communicate your thoughts as the course progressed.”

The motivations for transitioning from face-to-face to online are clear. Making the leap to launch educational technology can be done gradually, all at once, or in a limited way.

So how do you know where to start when launching a CHW ed-tech program?

Steps to Moving Training Online

1)      Assess online training tools.

Start by assessing what sorts of tools you have for online training. This makes your shift easy, because the infrastructure is already there. It pays to ask around, because there may be more available to you than you think.

We regularly work with clients who share an office with others with robust and useful training tools that aren’t shared. This happens regularly when programs are grant funded. The grant might support breast and cervical cancer screenings, but not HIV/AIDS client support. But both areas depend on outreach engagement skills, so why not share when you can?

Once you start asking around, you might find others have a full-fledged learning management system (LMS) that’s used by your organization for everything from HIPAA training to clinician training. Or you can open up your own subscription more targeted courses through CHWTraining to others who can use it.

Expand your search for training tools to include other less-obvious resources, including:

  • Ways to have discussions (Slack, message boards, group chat)
  • Webinar technology (WebEx, Zoom, Skype)
  • Video recordings (YouTube, Vimeo, CDC)

2)      Begin with blended learning.

You split the difference between keeping some training in person and pushing other topics online for a blended learning strategy. Blended learning mixes the best of training delivery methods to reach a variety of learning needs and varying subject matter. A live session allows for participants to meet each other and make connections with instructors and classmates that result in better retention. It can also be helpful for delivering material that’s better suited to in-person instruction.

For example, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s CHW and Patient Navigation Online Course includes a 10-week online element that begins and concludes with face-to-face teaching. The instructors cover such topics as communication techniques in the group, which gives participants a chance to try out newfound skills with their colleagues. Other topics, such as documentation skills, convert easily to an online format.

3)      Assign coaches or peer learning partners.

Many states with CHW certificate programs require learners to complete some degree of field training. Even if your employer doesn’t include this requirement, it’s still a great idea to pair a learner with someone who has experience on the job. Set up a system where supervisors or coaches can guide recent participants through using those foundational skills on the job.

This gives learners a chance to apply what they learn online to a real-life setting. The real benefit of having courses online is that learners can revisit courses while they’re doing fieldwork. It also makes it easier to sneak in training between visits with clients or on weekends and evenings.

Moving training online does have many moving parts. But it can be manageable, save costs, and be useful for CHWs. Ready to take your training to the next level? Contact us for a free consultation.

5 Ways To Save Your Budget with a Sustainable CHW Training Program

When it comes to training community health workers (CHWs) for your agency, it’s more important than ever that you demonstrate a sustainable program.

The research already shows that CHWs can save organizations millions, especially when it comes to supporting complex patients and high ER room utilizers. CHW programs offer proven return on investment (ROI) when implemented effectively. A recent analysis by Penn Medicine showed its community health worker program yields $2.47 for every $1 invested annually by Medicaid.

[Related: Most Important Job Skills To Build a CHW Career]

At the same time, it’s vital not to sacrifice quality. We meet agencies on a regular basis that train their staff by emailing out a PDF document. That might be a helpful resource document, but it’s not a training program. You’ll want to keep your training relevant, up-to-date with health guidelines, and engaging enough that your staff actually wants to participate in it.

Considering the pressures on keeping a CHW program afloat, your strategy for creating a new program or maintaining an initiative needs to be flexible, smart, and strategic. Anything you can do to keep costs down is a benefit. It’s important to remember that while a CHW training program is a necessary investment, not all expenses are expensive.

5 Strategies for Reducing the Cost of Training CHWs

  1. Calculate the cost of your existing training.
  2. Centralize your education efforts.
  3. Cut travel related to training and move online.
  4. Partner up with other programs, departments, and agencies.
  5. Re-examine Medicaid.

Here are several examples that you can follow to train your CHWs without over spending and staying within a budget, whether you’re responsible for a small, midsize, or large organization.

1. Calculate the cost of your existing training.

Deciphering the true costs of online training is a complicated task that can easily reach beyond the boundaries of any grant or budget line item. You may be paying more for training than you think. Think about the cost of updating outdated materials or using expensive trainers. Broaden your search to dig up all the costs you and your colleagues might be feeding into training–and identify ways to trim and consolidate (more on that below).

Here are some places to look when calculating your existing training costs, but remember this is only a start:

  • Room rentals
  • Facilitators
  • Per diem for traveling CHWs
  • Lunch
  • Materials
  • Communication
  • Marketing costs
  • Tuition

Calculate cost of CHW training2. Centralize your education efforts.

Many agencies have multiple departments training similar people in the same skills. Someone who is a case manager in one department might be doing the same work as a CHW in another. If they both need to learn outreach skills, then train them together.

This also goes for partnerships with training organizations. Many of our clients don’t realize at first that they can bring all their online courses into CHWTraining. We can host many different types of courses in one learning management system. This can be a tremendous savings, because it means that our clients can completely eliminate the redundant cost of hosting training for different people in different systems.

3. Cut travel related to training and move online.

Travel is the number one budget-eater when it comes to training. Airfare, hotels, meals, time away from the office…it can amount to thousands for each employee. End it. Just stop paying for any travel and offer e-learning.

This can be a game-changer in more ways than one. Not only are you avoiding costs associated with travel, you’re also making it much more convenient for your workers to access educational content in an engaging format whenever they need it. This could be when they’re home, when they have time between seeing clients or patients, or when they have a critical need for skills, such as information about finding immunizations during a flu outbreak.

Elearning courses can be updated quickly and easily, and they often don’t need a facilitator at all. Saving staffing and travel while making training better and more accessible is a solid way to boost your ROI.

4. Partner up with other programs, departments, and agencies.

Your partner agencies or neighboring departments likely have similar training needs to you. Start networking and find a way to share the expense of learning. Bonus: Your CHWs benefit from more cross-departmental networking, and it makes their job of making referrals easier.

The more you ask around, the more you can identify internal and external subject-matter experts who can supplement any existing training efforts.

Imagine that you have an asthma home visit program that requires your CHWs to go door-to-door to help clients understand their asthma care plans and identify allergens and triggers. Now imagine that you contact your agency’s EMS coordinator and explain that your CHWs are in clients’ homes. Your EMS partner pulls out a Vial of Life kit and offers to show your team how it works and how they can set it up with clients.

Think how that one contact could significantly improve the life of your clients and enrich your internal training efforts.

5. Re-examine Medicaid.

CHWs are billable providers, although federal codes and regulations could make it difficult to allow for direct billing. “The Medicaid SS1115 waiver permits states to use federal funds in ways that do not conform to federal standards, so in this case Medicaid funds can be used to support CHW programs,” according to the American Hospital Association (AHA).

Ready to start training your CHWs?

Request a free consultation today!

How I Started a Community Health Initiative and How It Can Make Your Clients Healthier

Finding fitness, friendship, and lifestyle change on the road to community health

By Eliana Ifill

One of the hardest parts of doing physical activity is finding the confidence and motivation to start. It’s intimidating to make a big life change, and it can be easier to push it to the side.

People like community health workers (CHWs) and promotoras know how limiting this is. They see how older people and those who stay home live in isolation unless they take an intentional approach to improving their social lives. Inactivity can lead to all sorts of health problems, according to the American Heart Association, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, cancers—and more. Active living is a topic we cover in many of the elearning courses at CHWTraining.

Public spaces also take a hit when individuals stay home: parks and streets are empty, and smaller roads can be neglected by local authorities. This makes it even harder for community members to step outside and take charge of their health.

[Related Community Engagement the Right Way with Outreach Skills]

In my case, I live near an industrial area. It was bustling with activity during business hours. But come 5 p.m. the roads were empty, the lights didn’t work, and the police had long left the streets.

Collaborating for an Active Community

I had come home to Venezuela after living in the U.S. for a while and didn’t have a steady job or other activities where I could meet people. This, combined with some personal challenges, made me start thinking about forming a fitness group of some sort. After all, I’ve been involved in one sport or another since college. Integrating physical activity as part of my daily life has always been important to me. And the lack of activity mixed with all the life changes and all the time spent at home was really taking a toll on my mental health.

I ran into (pun intended) another neighbor with a similar idea: She and her husband had made drastic lifestyle changes, and along with a friend they decided to try and promote sports in our small community.

I found them on Twitter and we decided to try forming a community running group design a short route around our neighborhood. We started very small–just the four of us–and soon, a lot of neighbors started joining us to run three times a week.


Eliana’s running group after a run.

How success spread across the community

We found that the safety and comfort provided by group activities helps keep people accountable while they build a habit for themselves, especially in older communities. Running with others is a powerful motivator.

Group activity like ours helps neighbors connect over shared interests; bond in new, meaningful ways; and regain confidence, purpose, and happiness in their lives.

My running group reached close to 80 people running together on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

The demographics were wildly varied: there were a few of us in our early 20s, some in their mid-40s, and quite a few in their 60s and 70s. The younger ones often led the pack, going back and forth on our routes ensuring everyone was OK and no one was left behind.

And we had some experts: A trainer who led our warmups and HIIT classes on the weekends; a hiker who led our expeditions through the nearby mountains, and some yoga instructors. There was one man, Manuel, who worked in security for our community association and coordinated the team’s safety throughout the route, reminding everyone to bring reflective clothing, carrying radios and flashlights, and always counting heads before we left and after coming back.

We gathered local support and had police escorts on our routes, made T-shirts for the group, showed up in some radio interviews, and worked locally with churches and other initiatives.


Eliana’s running group in the orange T-shirts they had made.

Of course, the physical benefits were great. It was especially exciting to see those over 50 finishing their first races, shaving off minutes between 10ks, trying out yoga and hiking for the first time.

Many of the participants remain active to date (the group started in 2015 and Venezuela’s crisis made many of the original members move to other countries). Many of us remain close friends. We celebrated birthdays, went to theaters, had holiday parties, and supported each other through races and beyond.

More than simply exercising, we’d built a community based on friendship and common goals.

Skills to Motivate Lifestyle Change

CHWs and promotoras who work in neighborhoods that don’t lend themselves to physical activity can follow my lead and still make a difference. Training programs can provide the key skills they need to make meaningful change, especially among clients with chronic illnesses or high utilizers of emergency rooms.

[Related Build Skills in These 3 Areas To Stop Diabetes Killing People]

It helps to understand how healthy eating and active living (HEAL) programs fit into health conditions like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, and others. But to build a program that can lead to community change, here are some of the most important skill-building courses any agency should provide to their staff:

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

Practicing healthy behaviors has a huge effect on a person’s life. Knowing the concepts behind maintaining a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle is the place to begin to work with clients to make positive changes and mange their life. The knowledge of what a healthy lifestyle is, including nutrition, fitness, preventative healthcare, and behavioral health, helps learners instruct clients on how to make a change for the better.

Community Outreach and Engagement

Outreach is the most essential part of building and strengthening communities so the people who live in them can take advantage of everything available. By learning the basic concepts and skills in community outreach, as well as strategies such as community needs assessments, learners can promote and even create better health services.

Advocacy Skills

Advocacy Skills demonstrates ways to use advocacy to connect people to the most important resources in organizations, but also externally. They also learn how to involve the community at large in clients’ issues, educate community members, use media and social media, and organize change.

Motivational Interviewing: Peer Support for Behavior Change

Before anyone changes their health, they must want to. Training in Motivational Interviewing helps people find the lasting motivation to improve their health internally. These skills are especially useful for promoting healthy lifestyle changes, managing chronic diseases, and setting goals.

Behavioral Health Care

Physical activity has a close relationship with mental health. Understanding this relationship, as well as what the most common behavioral health conditions are, can help clients find resources and build external structures that help them improve.

Eliana Ifill is a content manager at CHWTraining.

CHWTraining Releases New Course for Under-served Communities: “Oral Health Disparities”

Online training offers guidance for community health workers, case managers, and others to bridge gaps in oral-health awareness and access

Woburn, Mass., Feb. 14, 2020 – CHWTraining, a trusted provider of educational support and structure that enables organizations to build healthier communities from Talance, Inc., has added the new online course “Oral Health Disparities.” The 2- to 3-hour self-guided training is designed for people who need to show clients and caregivers how to improve oral health while navigating social determinates of health.

Oral Health Disparities,” available in English and Spanish, is ideal for clinical and non-clinical staff, including community health workers, promotoras de salud, case managers, patient navigators, support staff, and more.

Many people in the United States fail to understand the profound relationship between oral health and overall well-being. The mouth can show signs of nutritional gaps or general infection. Poor oral health reduces quality of life and is related to chronic systemic conditions, including stroke, heart and lung disease, and diabetes.

But significant disparities remain in oral care across different populations, where oral-health literacy can be negatively affected by factors ranging from race and ethnicity to socioeconomic status, geography, culture, language, gender, and age.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, non-Hispanic blacks, and Mexican Americans between 35 and 44 years of age experience untreated tooth decay nearly twice as much as white non-Hispanics. Latino children have higher rates of tooth decay, rampant decay, and treatment need compared to non-Latino white children. Many people living in less-affluent urban and rural areas either can’t afford dental insurance or face other barriers—including language, culture, or a lack of available information and resources—to finding and receiving oral care. Poor dental health in under-served communities can correlate to chronic conditions ranging from heart disease to diabetes to brain degeneration and more.

However, oral disease is preventable with the proper training. Oral Health Disparities helps employers, health systems, agencies, and health departments invest in training that promotes prevention and coordinates care among at-risk patients.

The course provides oral-health training and support for healthcare workers on various oral-health aspects, including teaching clients the basics of good oral care and dietary choices, learning to recognize oral signs of health or substance-use issues, and helping to bridge gaps and barriers to quality care.

About CHWTraining

CHWTraining provides online training-technology tools to organizations that want to create workers who transform health in America’s communities. It’s perfect for training new employees who need core competencies or standardizing training for existing staff—on their own time. The assessment-based certificates confirm that participants can demonstrate their knowledge.

About Talance

At Talance, we believe we all have a civic responsibility to help build healthy communities. Since 2000, we’ve collaborated with educators, advocates, health practitioners, governments, and employers to drive positive, lasting change in the environments where people actually live and work. Talance delivers online community-health education that is trusted by clients across the nation, who rely on our expertise to help develop custom curricula or tap into our original course library that is developed by a professional team of industry leaders.

Interested in educating your team in oral-health disparities? Contact us to learn how at www.chwtraining.org/contact.

CHWs Can Improve Oral Health Disparities

People who work with people’s teeth understand what kind of view that provides to the whole body. They see first hand how the mouth can reflect problems around the body and how problems with the mouth can affect the rest of the body. Poor dental health can correlate to chronic conditions ranging from heart disease to diabetes to brain degeneration—and more.

Almost all Americans understand this first-hand. Over 90% have at least one tooth that’s been treated for decay or needs to be. About a quarter of U.S. adults between 20 and 64 need a filling. Cavities are the most common chronic childhood infectious disease. Periodontal disease is also tragically undertreated in the States and affects about half of us. The problem there is that people with gum disease are 2 to 3 times more likely to have cardiovascular problems.

Oral Health Disparities

Access to health care and proper education helps address this gap, but there are stark disparities in the oral health of men, women, and children. These oral health disparities can have serious consequences, which we explore in depth in the CHWTraining course Oral Health Disparities.

Learn more about how CHWTraining Subscriptions can help increase CHW/promotora satisfaction, retention, and improve oral health outcomes

Some of the statistics from our course are unsettling.

“Blacks, non-Hispanics, and Mexican Americans aged 35–44 years experience untreated tooth decay nearly twice as much as white, non-Hispanics,” according to the CDC. Latino children have higher rates of tooth decay, rampant decay, and treatment need, compared to non-Latino white children.

Image: Pew Charitable Trusts

Education is widely lacking. I, for one, have never once in my life been told that women have unique oral health concerns, despite regular checkups and experience with recurring canker sores and inflamed gums. Are most pregnant women told they are far more likely to have gum disease or loose teeth or that morning sickness is a problem for teeth? I’m guessing not.

The trouble is that too few of the people in charge see it that way. Starting from the top with health policy all the way down to children who haven’t learned to brush regularly, too many people are tuned out to the connection between oral and overall health.

Many people can’t afford dental insurance or expensive electronic toothbrushes or a house where the water is fluoridated, especially in underserved rural and urban areas. Still, there isn’t much care coordination and patient navigation to support people.

Fortunately, this trend is reversable because relatively simple prevention goes a long way with oral and overall health.

CHWs Can Reverse Oral Health Disparities

Communities and health systems need to step up oral health by providing better access to dentists and education. Community health workers (CHWs), promotores de salud, and other lay educators are in a perfect position to help.

States and health systems should work to include oral health education as a part of CHW training. They can help people navigate such barriers as poverty, language, geography, and even transportation. And they can do it where people live, not necessarily in a clinical setting. This is a relatively low-cost way to engage families but can have a tremendous impact a person’s health, from childhood through the rest of their life.

Interested in educating your team in oral health disparities? Contact us to learn how.

 

The Top CHW Conferences of 2020

Every year more people become community health workers across the United States, and every year there are more conferences to support them. Last year we researched and gathered a list of the top CHW conferences, and we’ve done it again. Here’s this year’s list, ordered by date. This will be updated regularly, so check back often.

Contact us if you would like to add a CHW conference to this list. To be considered, please send us a message containing all details including the conference name, dates of the event, location, and a link to the event’s website.

Top CHW Conferences of 2020

CHW Employer Event – “CHWs and Sustainability in RI”

Date: January 31, 2020
Location: North Providence, RI
Cost: Free

This event brings together employers, insurers, and other healthcare/social services stakeholders in Rhode Island to discuss progress and plans for making the Community Health Worker workforce more sustainable in our state.

  • Learn lessons from a Massachusetts health sector innovator on forging collaboration among Medicaid, state DOH, Accountable Care Organizations (AOs) and Community Partners
  • Understand better what your CHWs and Peer Recovery Specialists do by getting a special training on supporting employees recovering from substance use disorder
  • Enjoy lunch with partners doing the same work
  • Discuss ways the Community Health Worker Association of RI can best help you to secure CHWs with the appropriate and most current training and to supervise them effectively

 
Western Forum for Migrant and Community Health

Date: February 19-21, 2020
Location: Sacramento, California
Cost:  $150-$350

The Western Forum is a regionally celebrated and nationally recognized conference known for innovative content, expert speakers, and a diverse audience from various disciplines. We look forward to hosting another engaging and vibrant conference. We hope to see you at our annual conference.

 
Northwest Rural Health Conference

Date: March 23-25, 2020
Location: The Davenport Grand Hotel, Spokane Washington
Cost:  N/A

Conference goals are:  Highlight rural health public policy issues, – Identify changes in the delivery of and access to rural health care, – Identify ways that data & technology are improving health in rural communities, – Examine issues that impact rural hospitals and  – Collaborate with peers on innovative models for rural health care delivery.

Who should attend? –  Rural hospital leadership and Board of Directors –  Rural clinic administrators & staff –   Quality managers ~ Risk Managers –  Public health officers –  State and local leaders –  Policy makers –  EMS staff –  Home health staff

 
CCHF Conference 2020

Date:  March 26-28, 2020
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Cost:  $95-$325

CCHF Conference 2020 is relational. You will meet like-hearted disciples who are willing to share, listen, and pray with you.  Students, practitioners, support staff and executive leaders come together to share their stories, knowledge and insights – and to be family. It is the only conference designed for people like you – who see medicine as a calling, and are committed to missional, faith-driven healthcare here in the United States.

 
South Carolina Community Health Worker Association Annual CHW Conference 2020: “Building Health Through Community Connections”

Date:  Fri. Mar. 27, 2020
Location:  Columbia, SC
Cost:  $25-$45

We are so excited about the opportunity to host our first Community Health Worker Conference. This conference will provide Community Health Workers with a day of learning and networking. Although this conference is designed for CHWs, it is also a conference for supervisors, stakeholders, and policy makers to come and learn about the CHW’s scope of practice

 
Indiana CHW/CRS Annual Conference

Date:  April 21, 2020
Location:  Plainfield, IN
Cost:  $35-$50

The Indiana CHW/CRS Annual Conference is an opportunity for Community Health Workers and Certified Recovery Specialists to connect and network with other helping professionals and learn knowledge and skills beneficial to the important work that they do.

 
The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+)

Date:  May 14-17, 2020
Location:  Baltimore, MD
Cost:  $115-$165

Join us in Baltimore where hundreds of oncology navigators and care providers will gather to advance the development, implementation, utilization, and metrics of multidisciplinary oncology navigation.

The 2020 AONN+ Midyear Conference is designed to address the questions of navigators, social workers, physicians, and administrators in regard to cancer care, and offer practical solutions from experts and peers in implementing effective programs and measuring their outcomes.

 
2020 MNCHWA Conference

Date:  May 15, 2020
Location:  Plymouth, MN
Cost:  N/A

The Annual Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance Statewide Conference brings together community health workers, supervisors, educators, providers, payers, policy makers and many others from across the state for a day of learning, exchange, networking and charting action on next-stage work.

 
43rd Annual Rural Health Conference

Date:  May 19-22, 2020
Location:  San Diego, Calif
Cost:  $368-$735

NRHA’s Annual Rural Health Conference is the nation’s largest rural health conference, created for anyone with an interest in rural health care, including rural health practitioners, hospital administrators, clinic directors and lay health workers, social workers, state and federal health employees, academics, community members and more.

 
Kansas Community Health Worker (CHW) Symposium 2020

Date:  June 11, 2020
Location:  Wichita, KS
Cost:  Free

Provide a venue where all stakeholders can better understand the progress and barriers associated with CHWs specific to Kansas.

Offer an opportunity for networking among the CHWs and their organizations across the state.

Focus on designing CHW infrastructure and systems rather than skill building.

The long-term goal of the CHW Symposium is to help reduce health disparities and increase access to care through CHWs in Kansas.

 
ACHI 2020 National Conference

Date:  June 15-17, 2020
Location:  Cleveland, OH
Cost:  N/A

The Association for Community Health Improvement’s National Conference convenes over 700 population and community health professionals to learn from experts and exchange the latest tools, approaches and ideas from the field. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in interactive workshops, site visits, breakout and plenary sessions.

 

Florida Community Health Worker Coalition Summit

Date: September 10-11, 2020
Location: Orlando, Florida
Cost: N/A

Florida Community Health Worker Coalition is a statewide partnership dedicated to the support and promotion of the CHW profession through collaboration, training, advocacy and leadership development. The Summit is for CHWs/promotores de salud, outreach workers, allies, employers, insurers, clinical staff, academic centers, community organizations, state and local leaders from across the state. We hope to see you at our annual conference! For more information, please contact us at 850-888-2495 or via email at flchwcoalition@gmail.com.



Visión y Compromiso’s 18th Annual Conference

Date:  Oct. 1-3, 2020
Location: 
Cost:  N/A

The goal of the conference is to create a space where experiences and ideas can be exchanged among promotores and other participants that foster the learning of new skills, knowledge and advocacy for our communities. The annual conference for promotores and community health workers is organized by Visión y Compromiso in collaboration with a planning committee that is comprised of promotores and other leaders in the community and organizations.  (More info to come)

 
2020 Community Health Institute & EXPO

Date:  Aug 30-Sept 1, 2020
Location:  San Diego, CA
Cost:  N/A

The NACHC Community Health Institute (CHI) and EXPO is the largest annual gathering of health center clinicians, executives, consumer board members, along with State/Regional Primary Care Associations and Health Center Controlled Networks. The conference August 30-September 1, 2020 is scheduled to kick off in San Diego, CA, at a time when health centers are charting a new course in a rapidly changing health environment and being called upon to assume a larger role in the nation’s health care system.

 
Creating the Healthiest Nation: Preventing Violence

Date:  Oct.24-28, 2020
Location:  San Francisco, CA
Cost:  N/A

Violence and the threat of violence limit the ability of individuals, families and communities to have healthy, whole lives. Yet research and practice have demonstrated violence is not inevitable and can be prevented. Public health must work with other sectors to prevent violence in all of its forms and across the lifespan. Using a public health approach, we can address the structures and root causes that contribute to this burden and work to change these underlying conditions in homes, schools and communities. We must continue to implement prevention efforts that help provide the opportunity for all to live their lives to their greatest potential.

 
14th Annual CHW Conference – Houston, TX

Date:  2020
Location:  Houston, TX
Cost:  N/A

The Texas Gulf Coast CHW/Promotors Association (TGCCPA) is a nonprofit association with a mission to meet the needs of the diverse CHW workforce throughout the Texas gulf coast by improving communication, providing access to resources, and improving job opportunities.  The TGCCPA has established chapters of the association to accommodate CHWs in various metropolitan areas. Who Should Attend: Community Health Workers / Promotores de Salud; CHW Instructors; Prospective CHW Employers; Community-based organization representatives.  CEUs: Combination of DSHS-certified and non-certified CHW and CHW-I CEUs.  Check back regularly for updates!

What’s New for Navigating Health Insurance

Almost 10 years after the Affordable Care Act passed—and six years after CHWTraining released the Navigating Health Insurance course–more Americans are insured. However, more people are under-insured. Plus, government funded education about the ACA has been either reduced or eliminated, which leaves many more people confused about coverage.

Adults in the U.S. still need support, especially now when health insurance shoppers in many states must buy coverage that will begin in 2020. Some states, such as California, set a heavy tax penalty for those who don’t have health insurance at all. Without the proper education about health insurance, patient populations will only decline if trends in insurance cover continue on the path they’re on.

CHWs and Health Insurance

Community health workers are more important than ever in helping people become insured and also understand the basics of health insurance. CHWs can connect clients to professionals who can help them sign up for insurance, make payments and file claims.

That’s why we created Navigating Health Insurance and included it as part of our core competencies for CHWs learning track. As part of our latest updates to the course, we took a careful look at how things have changed in the last six years. The data reveals that confusion about health coverage in the U.S. has significant consequences for people’s overall health and well-being.

[Add Navigating Health Insurance to any Learning Track.]

Trends in Navigating Health Insurance

According to the Commonwealth Fund, which conducts surveys of health insurance, today compared to 2010:

  • More people have insurance
  • More people are underinsured
  • People who are underinsured or uninsured have trouble getting care because of cost and paying medical bills

Here are some important highlights about health insurance we learned during our recent updates:

Low Health Insurance Literacy Stops People from Seeking Care

People who don’t understand how health insurance works are more likely to avoid care. People will skip treatment due to cost. This is a powerful case for health insurance literacy as well as general health literacy.

Noncitizens Are More Likely Than Citizens To Be Uninsured

Nearly a quarter of lawfully present immigrants and more than four in ten (45%) undocumented immigrants are uninsured compared to less than one in ten (8%) citizens.

Uninsured Rates among Nonelderly Adults by Immigration Status, 2017

The U.S. Spends More on Health Than Anywhere Else

On average, the U.S. spends twice as much as other wealthy countries per person on health., according to a KFF analysis of OECD and National Health Expenditure (NHE).

The U.S. Spends More on Health Than Anywhere Else

On average, the U.S. spends twice as much as other wealthy countries per person on health., according to a KFF analysis of OECD and National Health Expenditure (NHE).

Health consumption expenditures per capita

Many People Think They Don’t Need Travel Health Insurance

Serious problems when traveling in other countries are rare, many people do get hurt. People with chronic illnesses can also be at risk of a medical emergency. This decision can be an expensive mistake if they become sick or hurt while in other countries, and their main insurance doesn’t work. Request a copy of the Travel Health Insurance Toolkit to use with clients.

Millions of People are Uninsured and Even More Are Underinsured

Around 25 million people don’t have health insurance at all, and for those who do, premiums on family policies have increased 54% in the last decade.

Number of Uninsured and Uninsured Rate Among the Nonelderly Population

Not understanding health insurance is bad for people in the U.S. Government debates about ACA and Medicaid aren’t helping people know how their health is affected by coverage. Community health workers are more important than ever when it comes to navigating health insurance.

If you’re not including training about navigating health insurance in your CHW workforce, start now. If you’re interested in building a diabetes education program for your team with these or other courses, contact us to learn how to add certified training to your program. Our team will be in touch ASAP to schedule a time to chat.