Your Community Is Still Sitting Too Much [New Guidelines]

American’s are sitting too much and exercising too little, according to the new “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” (PDF; 14 MB). from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Back in 2008, we weren’t exercising enough, and after looking at about 27,000 adults, we still aren’t—and we’re sitting more. People who sit more than six hours a day went from 16.1% to 18.8%.

Time to redouble your health education efforts! We’ve updated our Promoting Healthy Lifestyles course to reflect that some physical activity is better than none. Moving around shows immediate health benefits, including reducing anxiety, improving blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.

There are even more long-term health benefits with more activity, from better cognition in youth to preventing 8 types of cancer in adults to reducing injuries from falls in older adults.
The new guidelines recommend:

  • Children ages 3 through 5 should be active throughout the day aiming for at least 3 hours per day.
  • Youth ages 6 through 17 need at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity every day. Most activity can be aerobic, like walking, running, or anything that makes their hearts beat faster, and also activities that make their bones and muscles stronger, such as jumping rope.
  • Adults need 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. This can be dancing or jogging, and also 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity every week.

Or, in short, move more and sit less.

Here are some resources to promote physical activity in your community:

Read the new guidelines fact sheet Top 10 Things to Know.

Download the PowerPoint Presentation [PPT – 12.9 MB] [PDF – 2.4 MB] to promote the guidelines to
other professionals.

Download free Move Your Way Campaign Materials to use with your health promoters.

Ask about our training on promoting healthy lifestyles and courses on preventing and managing chronic
illness for your team.

5 Easy Ways To Keep Learners Motivated [Infographic]

5 Easy Ways To Keep Learners Motivated [Infographic]

The hard truth about investing in training for your team is that there’s no guarantee they’ll like it. You certainly hope that they find the elearning program they take to be engaging, immediately applicable and better able to connect with the people in the community.

But that’s not always what happens.

And while you can brush that off when you didn’t invest too much time in the curriculum—like when you just hand them a PDF—it stings a little more when it’s something more resource-heavy like an online training program.

Luckily, there are few things you can do in your training initiative to hedge your bets. We put together the following infographic on making highly engaging learning programs — helping you keep learners’ eyes open and keep improving health outcomes in your community. Follow these tips, and your team will be much more likely to finish, and be glad they did.

Want to use some of techniques with your team? Contact CHWTraining to start right now.

The ultimate list of CHW Conferences

I’m often asked, “Do you know of any upcoming conferences for CHWs in my area?” The answer used to be different, but these days, community health workers and others in a similar role are well represented at conferences. Here’s a list, so you can get planning. Know of others that aren’t here? Let me know!

Unity Conference

“Unity 2019 is a national conference designed for and about community health workers, community health representatives, and promotores.”  I’ll be presenting Mental Illnesses Are Epidemic: Helping Clients CopeSupervisor Support Skills for CHWs with Depression, Anxiety, and Secondary Trauma; and Burnout Prevention and Recovery for Community Health Workers. Unity 2019 will be held at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel and Casino on April 14-17, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Community Health Worker Conference

“A conference that will explore why a racial justice approach is integral to strengthening the CHW workforce.”Presented by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers.May 16, 2019, Four Points Sheraton, Norwood

Hawai‘i Community Health Worker Leadership Conference

“Join us and your fellow CHWs and allies from across the state for a day of learning, sharing and networking. Be a part of the discussion on creating a Hawai’i-based CHW association.”Friday, June 28, 2019, from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM at the Ala Moana Hotel.

2019 Community Health Worker Conference: You are EPIC—Equitable, Passionate, Invested, and Collaborative

“The fifth annual Washington State Community Health Worker Conference is a two-day event that will engage, energize, and inspire CHWs and their allies to best support their communities.”April 11-12, 2019, Wenatchee Convention Center

Spectrum Health- Eleventh Annual Community Health Worker Conference

“Community Health Workers Leading Change at the Forefront of the Community: Being the Change You Want to See.  Conference Objectives; Discuss the effects of social injustice in our clients and communities, Creating educational opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of the Community Health Worker (CHW) in their roles in the community, Develop techniques to assist Community Health Workers in motivating their clients to make positive life changes.”Aug. 23, 2018 Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan

2019 MNCHWA Statewide Conference

“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.”May 2, 2019 | 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen, MN

Oregon Community Health Workers Association Annual Conference – You  Are The Voice Of The Community – Use It!

“The annual conference is ORCHWA’s signature event, bringing together Community Health Workers (CHW), Peer Support Specialists (PSS), Personal Health Navigators (PHN), Peer Wellness Specialists (PWS), doulas, other Traditional Health Workers, and supervisory staff.  This event addresses relevant policy and sustainability issues including: training, certification, employment opportunities, and more.”August 16 & 17, 2019, Inn at the Commons, Medford, Oregon

Visión y Compromiso’s 17th Annual Conference “United We Rise for a Healthy Community!”

“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.”Sept. 26-28, 2019, Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles

42ndAnnual Rural Health Conference

“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.”May 7-10, 2019  Atlanta, Ga.

13th Annual CHW Conference – Houston, TX

“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.”Friday, May 10, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (CDT)Houston, TX

2019 Community Health Institute & EXPO

“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.”Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago, IL, August 18-20, 2019

Indiana CHW/CRS Annual Conference

“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.”March 15, 2019, Hilton Garden Inn Indianapolis Airport

2019 National Conference,One Voice

“The ACHI National Conference, held each year in March, convenes 700 population and community health professionals to learn from experts and exchange the latest tools, approaches and ideas from the field.”March 19-21, 2019, Chicago

4th Annual Kentucky Community Health Worker Conference – Share Your Voice – Share Your Story

“Advocating and promoting the profession of Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”September 19, 2019, Embassy Suites, Lexington, Kentucky

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

“AONN+ will continue to advance the navigation profession by expanding the scope of educational sessions, networking opportunities, and industry-sponsored sessions through this conference. In addition, the Midyear Conference will address the evolving challenges of program improvement, the role of personalized medicine, and implementing best practices in navigation, survivorship, and psychosocial care.”San Diego, California May 16-19, 2019.

Read more about what we presented at the Unity Conference in our Resources

Is it time to make a Behavioral Health Referral?

In my session at the Unity 2019 Conference “Mental Illnesses Are Epidemic: Helping Clients Cope,” which I co-presented with Dr. Jeanine Joy from Happiness 1st, one of the hot questions for CHWs was: when is it time to make a referral?

It’s a great question, especially now at the beginning of Mental Health Month.

Even though community health workers can’t diagnose or directly treat a mental illness, there’s still a lot they can do. Making a referral for a mental illness like depression is an important step. Depression is like any chronic disease, which can be managed or avoided with early intervention.

This infographic is a short list of warning signs that should tip off a CHW that someone they’re working with might need a referral. Save and share with your CHW team.

Does your team need training in behavioral health? Read about our Healthy Living learning track.

What Supervisors Can Do To Support Mental Wellness of CHW Teams

Anyone supervising a community health worker team knows how important it is to support clients with depression, anxiety or other behavioral health issues.

What they might not realize is that their own staff might be feeling the same as their clients.

We’re taking a closer look at the negative effects of feelings of depression, anxiety, burnout and compassion fatigue on CHW staff at the Unity Conference 2019, which I’m previewing on March 26 with co-presenter Jeanine Joy, Ph.D. We’ll offer some solutions and strategies managers and supervisors can share with their team.


Burnout and mental disorders in CHWs

Why CHWs Feel Overwhelmed

CHWs create strong bonds with clients and report that they feel fulfilled by their jobs. However, CHWs are often called on to respond to mental health crises, but they might not have the training to handle it. They could be overworked and become discouraged when a relationship they build with a client ends. When they take on too much, they run the risk of depression, anxiety, burnout and compassion fatigue. When their mental wellness is at risk, so is your program.

“CHWs are often lauded for their ability to develop trust with peers, yet this willingness and ability to create enduring emotional bonds could threaten programme delivery,” says a study published in BMC Health Services Research.

In fact, community-based health workers are more likely to have problems with depression and mental health issues than the other members of their health care team.

Supervisor Training Gaps

In the process of developing three new modules for CHWTraining’s catalog (Depression and Anxiety, Motivational Interviewing and Supervisor Training), we immediately noticed some troubling trends:

  • Supervisors lack general training for managing teams of CHWs.
  • Supervisors lack training for dealing with mental wellness issues among their staff.
  • Many programs have few resources for supporting either supervisors or their staff.

Clearly, there’s a training and support gap that needs to be addressed. We’ve added courses on this topic to our online community health worker certification program, and we’re taking a deeper dive in an upcoming presentation “Supporting Mental Wellness In CHW Teams” (March 26 at 10 a.m.).

Here are some quick highlights.

Burnout, Depression and Anxiety Warning Signs

If you work in a close team, you might be able to easily tell if someone is feeling undue stress. In our behavioral health course, we flag these as some of the items to look for if you suspect someone needs help:

  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Avoiding people and activities
  • Smoking or drinking more, or using drugs
  • Mood swings
  • Apathy and calling in sick to work

Support Strategies for Supervisors

Start Before Problems Begin

One of the best things you can do is look out for any warning signs. But it’s even more effective to help your team avoid these dangers in the first place. Not only will you prevent any problems, but problems are much harder to address when they’ve already happened. Be proactive about the mental health of your team.

Listen Up

If you’re not sure if one of your CHWs is starting to feel the pressure of their job, listen. Be the kind of manager who is willing to listen to work-related issues. This gives employees the sense that they can come to you when they need to share. If they don’t volunteer information, make a habit of asking.

Similarly, encourage teamwork and bonding among the team. If you’re not there to lend an ear, someone else who understands the unique nature of being a CHW can provide a sympathetic ear.

Burn off Stress

At the top of the list is burning off stress. Organize informal picnics or potlucks with your team, so you’re connecting with each other in a way that’s not all about work. Or suggest walking meetings to recharge, as they do at Berkeley County School District, Moncks Corner, S.C.

Some organizations provide a mindfulness space to encourage relaxation or meditation. See if you can assign a room as a place where your staff can stop feeling overwhelmed. If you don’t have space or have a workforce that isn’t in a room together, encourage them to sit at their desk quietly, noticing their body’s sensations as they sit.

Mental Health Days

Your program should also offer mental health days as part of a benefits package. However, you should also suggest your staff take advantage of them. This can help CHWs realize that you support their mental wellness and that they can feel comfortable asking for time when they need it. Same goes for vacation time.

So, would you like to learn more?

Join us as we discuss 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. Sign up for this free presentation now.

Building a Healthy Habits Challenge: What Works and What Doesn’t

The team at CHWTraining might know all about developing and keeping healthy habits, but that doesn’t mean we always do it. Even for people in the health education business like us have habits we’d like to change: stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol, drinking more water, eating less meat, eating fewer sugary foods.

This January, our parent company Talance wanted to encourage this kind of change internally instead of just for our clients and course participants. Here’s what happened.

First, we researched several workplace wellness challenges to find a format we liked. This article on Health.gov, 7 Simple, Fun Wellness Challenges to Start At Work, had some ideas we liked.

Importantly, we wanted people to control how they participated. We teach many people about behavior change with techniques like Motivational Interviewing, and we all know that no one will change anything unless they’re inwardly motivated to do so. We wanted to tap into intrinsic motivation as well as extrinsic motivation. NBC’s Better explains it well in this article 3 types of motivation that can inspire you to do anything.

Setting Healthy Habits Goals

Armed with some ideas, we decided to create a challenge that affirmed any positive change that anyone wanted to make. However, because cutting back on smoking is the single best thing anyone can do for their health, we wanted to especially encourage any smokers to cut back or stop. The 31-Days-Free Challenge was born.

The 31-Days-Free Challenge was open to anyone who wanted to participate in one of two ways:

Title: Challenge description - Description: No Smoking Challenge: Stop smoking or cut back.Put Something Else in Your Mouth Challenge: Don't smoke? Pick something you DO or DO NOT want to do that will improve your health (drink water, quit drinking, cut out sugar).

From the start, everyone was very interested in curious about the challenge. But as time went by, fewer people decided to participate. We would have loved everyone to join, but creating new habits is tough. It has to happen on an individual basis—not just because there’s a challenge there or because it’s January 1. So we hope to catch more next time.

We were left with a core of four who signed up and stuck with it for the whole month. Here’s what our challenges looked like:

Anastasia

Title: goal - Description: My challenge: Smoke not more than 5 cigarettes per day for 5 days/ week. Don't smoke at all for 2 days/week.

Monique

Title: Goal - Description: “Reduce alcohol consumption in January from 5 units to 3 units by drinking only on weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).”

Pamela

Title: Goal - Description: “I will reduce the sugar treats (cake, cookies, chocolate, ice cream, candies) + junk food (that's a long list including diet soda) from almost every day to *1 serving per week*.”

Peter

Title: goal - Description: “Eat vegetarian for 8 days in the month (about 2 days a week)”

We’re All Winners Here

There were no losers in this challenge–only winners. So we designed a system where every week participants would self-report how they did based on the achievement points (see the full list below), which were added to a scoreboard. During the week, we opened our internal chat channel (#31-days-free) to advice, reports, tips and encouragement.

This is what a typical week looked like on the scoreboard:

What Worked and What Didn’t

The result? It worked! Everyone who participated made improvement. Most people kept to their goals for the whole month, or at least got close. We all felt better physically and also had fun as a team in a different way that wasn’t related to a project.

As Anastasia said, “For me, it was important that we did it as a team, and that each week I had to say how I was [doing] and state specific achievement points.”

As planned, our chat channel was busy with reports, encouragement and recipes. It was empowering to see how everyone was working toward their goals and how they were navigating barriers. We were all in the spirit of helping each other succeed.

And as expected, there were some unforeseen holdups. For example, my challenge, which required me to cut out my dinnertime glass of wine most nights, didn’t take into account a mid-week birthday celebration that included champagne. So next time, I know to build in some flexibility.

This is a good lesson for anyone who doesn’t reach their goal, whether it’s someone with type 2 diabetes trying to cut down on sugary foods or someone who’s looking to control substance use. Failure can be valuable. It teaches you what your limits are and reveals obstacles that you can navigate next time.

Smokers know this too. Quitting is hard. Slip-ups are inevitable and can be discouraging. According to one study, “it may take 30 or more quit attempts before being successful.” But each slip-up is a learning experience. Note it, what caused it, and keep moving.

There were also some problems with the format. It felt too much like a competition to some. Anastasia said, “Competition didn’t work for me. I wanted to help and learn from the others so I couldn’t see it as a competition.”

There were also some logistical hiccoughs. About halfway through the month, we noticed that some people were making excellent progress but not earning any achievement points. We added a “fill-in-the-blank” point to use whenever you’re doing well but aren’t fitting the list of points.

Next time, we’ll probably forget any points and instead focus on supporting healthy habits only. Importantly, there will be a next time, and many of us are still sticking with our new healthy habits even past January. Hello, flexibility challenge!

Wellness Achievement Points

Here were the achievement points we awarded, which you can copy for motivating your group.

General Points

  1. Post your SMART goal to #31-days-free
  2. Put yourself on the scoreboard
  3. Help someone on  #31-days-free stay on goal
  4. Share a tip on #31-days-free for staying on challenge
  5. Stick to your challenge for 1 week for 1 bonus point
  6. Stick to your challenge for 2 weeks for 2 bonus points
  7. Stick to your challenge for 3 weeks for 3 bonus points
  8. Stick to your challenge for 4 weeks for  4 bonus points
  9. Recruit one person in your life to do your challenge with you
  10. Find a team partner
  11. Meet your challenge goal on both Saturday and Sunday
  12. Walk around the block instead of doing something you’re trying to stop
  13. Set your health goal for February
  14. Meditate
  15. Suggest an achievement point (if it gets enough thumbs-up, you
    get a point, and we’ll add it to the list)
  16. Distract yourself by doing a good deed for a few minutes

No-Smoking Points

  1. Go 1 day without smoking
  2. Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), such as Nicorette gum, patch, lozenge
  3. Get a Chantix prescription
  4. Walk past the tobacconist
  5. Play with your phone rather than smoke
  6. Remove all ashtrays
  7. Look up number for local quitline
  8. Call quitline
  9. Set a quit day
  10. Download a quit app to your phone (QuitNow! for Android or QuitNow! for Apple)
  11. Read a quit smoking book
  12. Give money for a pack of cigarettes to a trusted friend or charity for safekeeping instead of buying one (count how much you have on Feb. 1)
  13. Attend a support group, such as https://stepbac.com/ or https://www.icoprevencio.cat/uct/en/quit-smoking/
  14. Try an alternative therapy, like acupuncture
  15. Take smoking cessation class
  16. Go to a smoke-free zone when you feel like smoking

Put-Something-Else-in-Your-Mouth Points

  1. Download a healthy eating app to your phone (food log, exercise log, no drinking log)
  2. Walk 1000 steps (or 1/4 mile or 1 km) instead of putting That Thing in your mouth
  3. Get a pedometer
  4. Cook a new healthy recipe (share it on #31-days-free)
  5. Skip meat at 1 meal
  6. Have a meatless Monday
  7. Eat 5 servings of produce in a day
  8. Drink a glass of water instead of a glass of wine
  9. Drink 8 glasses of water in a day
  10. Walk somewhere instead of driving/taking a taxi/metro
  11. Create a healthy grocery list
  12. Try one new healthy food you haven’t tried before
  13. Read a healthy eating/cooking book
  14. Take a cooking class that meets your challenge
  15. Plan a weekly menu (post it here!)
  16. Instead of putting That Thing in your mouth, chew a stick of gum

The 27 New Skills You Can Now Learn on CHWTraining

This year, more community‐based organizations, hospitals and health systems than ever hired new community health workers (CHWs). CHWs are undeniably a benefit to the health workforce, but many employers are struggling to adequate train their new CHWs, lay health worker, community health advocate, and promotores.

Enhancing this workforce’s core competencies is fast and accessible with the dozens of new online training modules from CHWTraining.

Each month we add to our growing course library dedicated to population health. This quarter we added 10 new or updated courses covering everything from basic core skills to health literacy to a host of self-guided titles in Spanish. Many more modules are headed for release in early 2019.

The new courses now available on CHWTraining are:

Core Skills

Advocacy Skills and Habilidades de abogacia (Advocacy Skills in Spanish)

The Advocacy Skills course, available in both English and Spanish, cover essentials of public advocacy, such as pushing for policy development and policy change. It also covers communication skills, which learners can use to speak up for individuals and communities, be a health advocate for their clients and encourage people to be their own advocate.

Communication Skills

Participants in this course learn how to use language confidently and in ways that motivate their clients and patients to change. With an emphasis on communicating following Plain Language guidelines, it shows learners basic skills such as using empathy, active listening, and creating clear health education materials so they can improve the community where they work.

Motivational Interviewing: Peer Support for Behavioral Change and Entrenamiento de la salud y la entrevistas motivacionales (Motivational Interviewing in Spanish)

The new Motivational Interviewing course (both in Spanish and English) provides a solid introduction to interviewing techniques for further exploration. This course offers plenty of practice and reflection on techniques such as OARS, as well as modeling through video, audio and case studies.

Chronic Illness

Asma: cuidados y autocontrol (Improving Asthma Outcomes in Spanish)

Our popular Improving Asthma Outcomes course has now been updated for Spanish-speaking audiences. It covers how asthma works and what to do in case of an asthma emergency. It focuses on conducting home visits and how to guide patients and their families through making easy changes that will help them manage asthma better.

Presión arterial alta (Hipertensión) [High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) in Spanish]

Heart disease and stroke are the most common causes of death in the US, and many of the fatalities are among Latinos. This course on hypertension has been linguistically and culturally translated for reaching all populations, with an emphasis on Latino health.

Healthy Living

Behavioral Healthcare

More people have behavioral health problems than are being treated for them. This course addresses how to support people with mental health and substance use issues. This course has been completely revamped to include the most common behavioral health issues.

Depression and Anxiety: Helping Others Cope

Most people can overcome problems caused by depression and anxiety with the proper support. This course introduces learners to fundamentals of what depression and anxiety are so they can help those who suffer cope.

Substance Use

The Substance Use module provides critical training to meet the nation’s need for substance misuse, including opioids, tobacco, alcohol and other substances. Learners discover strategies for helping clients avoid and deal with addiction.

Asistencia para dejar el tabaco (Supporting Tobacco Cessation in Spanish)

This course introduces your team-members to the basics of tobacco use as well as counseling techniques that front-line health workers can use to support individuals in different stages of cessation. Updated and translated into Spanish.

Want to see what else we offer? View all of CHWTraining’s courses today.

Community Health Worker Models from Different States

Here is a link to find out what each state has in place for every Community Health Worker. You’ll find helpful information about CHW financing, education, certification, State CHW Legislation, and Organizations & Workgroup. You will also find every state’s information about CHW specific and defined roles.

We hope you’ll find this useful.

How One CHW Feeds Her Love of Health Education

Tasha Whitaker, CHW

Some people might picture community health workers as busy little worker bees buzzing around with surveys, checklists, and clipboards. There’s an element of truth to that image: They’re indeed active as they educate clients and patients about health care issues and connect them with appropriate services and resources.

But CHWs aren’t just names on some roster – they have individual, unique backgrounds and experience that qualify them to perform this increasingly important role in the nation’s health care system.

Let’s meet one of them. Tasha Whitaker has followed an unusual path, from reading Dr. Seuss books to pre-kindergartners to seeing that Medicare patients receive the right pre-diabetes screenings, among other tasks. Whitaker is a Community Health Worker II at Baylor Scott & White Health, in Dallas, Texas, and a strong proponent of health education.

Q. What exactly are your duties?

A. We work as a multidisciplinary team – a physician, medical assistant, CHW, pharmacist, and licensed clinical social worker. We are assigned a load of patients over 50. We assess their charts and provide health education and resources to the patient that are needed. These referrals come through the providers and other staff, and we follow up with the patient to make sure that their wellness visits, A1C test [for diabetes], medication list, depression screening and other metrics are all completed. If not, we make sure to get those patients in for an appointment.

Q. How did you arrive at your current position?

A. I went to school to become an RN. It wasn’t until I got to my health-ed classes that I figured that I loved the education part. So I graduated with degree in health education studies. The next best thing to me is teaching. A bunch of people in my family are in teaching. I went through certification programs, got an education, did some pre-K, then started in another job, working for a podiatrist. I got laid off and went back to substitute teaching. Then I got a job here. My journey wasn’t really “on purpose”; it just happened. My title when I was hired was community health educator. Once I started working, my employer gave me the opportunity to get certified as a community health worker. After working in one position for 4 ½ years, I was promoted and moved into a new role as a Community Health Worker II. Eventually, I want to go back and get my RN license and continue with health education and chronic-disease management.

Q. What makes you feel passionate about the work you do?

A. I love educating people about health and chronic diseases. I enjoy being able to break down complicated and complex information to people who may be struggling with turning their health around. It’s rewarding to see patients change their behavior and see many of them push through barriers to reach their goal.

Q. What’s unique about the needs of the people you serve?

A.  Because they are seniors, some have barriers involving sight, reading, and instruction comprehension.

Q. Describe a time when the work you did truly made a difference for someone.

A.  There was a patient I worked with in a pre-diabetes management class, and she was a bus driver. She was in the program to try and reduce her risk for getting diabetes. It was difficult because the goal was to lose 7 percent of her body weight through healthy eating and exercise. She came very close. She eventually lost weight and changed the snacks and drinks she would consume as she drove the bus. That, in turn, allowed others to see her progress and get them to be interested in the program. It was a really good feeling to know that our time in class was making a difference.

Diabetes and Prediabetes Learning Track

Train your staff to help patients and clients understand how to live with and manage diabetes and prediabetes. They’ll learn the most relevant methods for improving health outcomes, living healtier, and making meaningful changes.

Learn More

10 Free Apps for Tobacco Cessation

Some smokers will tell you cigarettes give them something to do with their hands. Here are 10 free smartphone apps that occupy the fingers of people who want to quit.

Smoking and smartphone

1. SmokefreeTXT

“SmokefreeTXT is a mobile text messaging program that provides 24/7 tips, advice, and encouragement to help you quit smoking.”

2. quitSTART

QuitSTART is a free app made for teens who want to quit smoking, but adults can use it too. This app takes the information about an individual’s smoking history and offers customized tips, inspiration, and challenges to help become smoke-free.

3. Smoke Free

An iPhone (and Android) app with over 20 different, evidence-based, techniques to become smoke-free. Includes details on money saved, counts the number of cigarettes not smoked, tracks time since last cigarette, and more.

4. 1-800-QUIT-NOW 

A phone-based service with educational materials, coaches, a quit plan, and referrals to local resources to help you quit tobacco use.

5. 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) 

A phone-based service to help Spanish speakers quit tobacco use.

6. Kwit

Kwit is a game-based tobacco cessation tool that makes quitting fun. Score points for not smoking, receive rewards for achievements, and get support from friends.

7. LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach

The LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach application creates a personalized plan to help quit smoking. Evaluate current status, set goals and adjust preferences according to needs. Only for iPhone. LIVESTRONG also has an active and helpful community support site for stopping smoking.

8. QuitNow!

Another game-based approach to help stop smoking. It tracks achievements, money saved, health progress and has an online community.

9. My Last Cigarette – Stop Smoking Stay Quit

A smoker enters details of the smoking habit and personal details then watch as various indicators display expected increase in lifespan, yur circulatory and lung function improvements, savings, and more. The full app costs $0.99 but the lite version is free.

10. Quit Smoking: Cessation Nation

This free Android app tracks time lapsed since quitting, money saved, cigarettes not smoked, and health improvements in a fun game-based format. Connects to a Facebook community.

Support to Quit Tobacco

Let us help your organization increase and improve tobacco cessation programs in your community. FInd out how you can improve your team’s training so they can help their clients give up using cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Learn More