Recently, you may have heard about LACOE’s Community Health Worker Certification & Health Champion program at Policy Council meetings, recruitment at the delegate agencies, presentations at LACOE’s weekly all-staff Inspire at the Fireside, and at the HSEL Prenatal-to-Five Early Learning Virtual Conference.
Community Health Workers (CHWs) have been around for generations and are utilized all around the world. They are recognized as trusted community members that serve as advocates of communities experiencing great disparities, refer clients to health and social services, and approach each encounter with respect, cultural humility, and appreciation for community differences.
The LACOE CHW program is a 70-hour professional development certification program for parents, staff, and volunteers that includes 30 hours of classroom lecture and 40 hours of field experience. Upon completion, participants receive CHW certification for career or professional advancement. The classes are facilitated by Rei Johnson, LACOE Health Consultant, and supported by other LACOE staff and external LA County health partners.
Sandra Rodriguez, a Head Start parent at Pomona USD and now a LACOE Office Assistant, said, “You find out that being a CHW is about educating yourself and others, informing, advocating, and being the connection between the community that needs guidance and resources of all types, including health care, government, and social services, to better themselves. I encourage everyone to take this program. You learn so much about yourself, and how you can utilize what you learned to help others.”
Rebecca Escobar, a Family Services Associate at MAOF, stated, “The CHW training has increased my awareness of cultural humility, and cultural competence. The class goes beyond educating community and working hand-in-hand with health services within the community but also about education on why every individual needs access to health services. It also provides information to the community on preventive health care for children and adults. I am very grateful I participated in this class that taught me many skills that I can use daily within the community I work and serve.”