Disease prevention is one of our greatest achievements as human beings. We’ve been able to reduce the number of people dying from infectious diseases by over 90% in just 100 years. But there’s still much to learn about how to keep ourselves healthy.
Thankfully, we have community health workers (CHWs), promotores de salud, health advisors and many others with similar roles whose chief job is to support community-based efforts to prevent chronic conditions.
CHWs build a foundation by completing core competencies and then adding training in specialized areas. Check out CHWTraining for an idea of what they learn for core skills and other learning tracks.
Learning doesn’t stop when these courses are completed, however. The CHWs on your team can keep learning throughout the year. Here are five areas that your team can focus on.
Discover what each CHW core competency includes, practical examples, CHW roles and careers, how to cross-train your staff, and how to get state certifications for the CHWs on your team. Access now.
Access these Free Disease Prevention Tools for Community Health Workers
One of the best things anyone can do to improve their health is to stop smoking or vaping. Reducing tobacco use is an important skill for any CHW to spread to their clients.
The American Lung Association’s Assistors Toolkit is designed for new health insurance enrollees. But it has a host of resources that are helpful for CHWs to use regarding tobacco cessation and also basic health insurance information.
The toolkit includes details about what kind of insurance coverage is usually available for reducing tobacco usage. It also includes practical information for self-education and to share with clients, such as Want to Quit Smoking? (for consumers) and Does Your Client Use Tobacco? (for assisters).
COVID-19 Outreach and Education
COVID-19 continues to increase around the US, and new variants are in circulation. But there is very little or no protection for those who are most at risk. This includes people who are immunocompromised or living with a disability, pregnant people, those with lower incomes, those working in higher-risk jobs, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN), Black, Latino communities, the unvaccinated, including children, the elderly, diabetics, and others with chronic diseases.
Vaccines remain hugely successful at protecting people from becoming very sick or dying. CHWs’ job is to educate the American public and build confidence around COVID-19 vaccines.
The People’s CDC is a collective of public health practitioners, scientists, healthcare workers, educators, advocates and people from all walks of life working to reduce the harmful impacts of COVID-19.
They provide guidance and policy recommendations to governments and the public on COVID-19. Every week, they provide evidence-based updates that are grounded in equity, public health principles, and the latest scientific literature.
Download the Infosheets, which are handouts, flyers, and sheets full of information about fighting COVID. They’re always updated and a good source of reliable information for CHWs and also for their clients.
- Mask Up – High-quality, well-fitting masks can protect you and others
- How COVID Spreads Through the Air
- Layers of Protection – Strategies to reduce COVID-19 infection and spread
- Safer Gatherings – Tips for Avoiding COVID this Summer and Fall
- COVID-19 Major Variants (in the U.S.)
Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Toolkit for Community Educators
Eating healthy food and boosting physical activity is a dynamic combo for disease prevention and managing chronic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and more.
The Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Toolkit for Community Educators is a perfect resource for CHWs so they can teach others to eat more fruits and vegetables than processed foods and enjoy physical activity. It’s also available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Hmong.
The California Department of Public Health, Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention Branch developed the toolkit as part of SNAP-Ed Staff Training. It was pilot tested with Latinas in the San Diego area. The findings showed that the lessons were linguistically and culturally appropriate.
The PDF document is a curriculum that includes lessons on the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables and physical activity for adults. It also includes:
- Seven nutrient lessons.
- A community empowerment lesson.
- Six physical activity lessons.
- Reproducible educational handouts.
- An evaluation.
Start a Walking Group
One of the easiest tools for disease prevention is to exercise regularly. This includes walking, running, swimming, biking, dancing, playing sports, etc. It also includes strength training and yoga. Most people should aim to exercise at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week.
Walking is a good activity for most people, regardless of their physical condition. A walking group is something that CHWs can form and include clients, especially people new to exercise or with joint problems.
The Do-It-Yourself Project: Start a Walking Group from AARP is a detailed and simple guide CHWs can use to form a group in their neighborhood, including a video and instructional overview, followed by step-by-step instructions on how to start the group.
Disease Prevention Toolkit
The disease prevention toolkit by the National Institutes of Health includes resources for disease prevention, covering aspects like regular screenings, hygiene as a tool to prevent disease transmission, and other daily steps people can take to avoid diseases that we normally take for granted.
There’s a Lot You Can Do for Disease Prevention
Community health workers have the opportunity to educate and serve at-risk populations. And there’s evidence that they improve health outcomes, so much so that multiple studies show an ROI of anywhere from $2 to $3 per $1 invested into a CHW program. The American Hospital Association published a study that shows average savings per patient of $2,245.
These free resources are an excellent alternative for educating your staff. You can always add these areas to your ongoing professional development programs and tap into the five free training resources at any time. And if you’re ready for something more in-depth, contact CHWTraining to get started with a training license for teams or a bigger program.
Core Competencies for CHWs
Register now for this foundational course and save with the Early Bird Discount.