Community Healthcare Worker | HCTC

Community Healthcare Worker

healthcare worker

Community Health Workers (CHWs) positively affect vulnerable communities and serve as liaisons between medical and social services and the community.

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What is Community Healthcare Worker?

The Community Healthcare Worker is a 6-credit hour certificate. The certificate prepares students for a scope of practice for community health workers highlighting six central roles: communication, organizational and community outreach, advocacy, health coaching, organization, and legal/ethics of the profession. Currently, the Community Healthcare Worker certificate is only available through the HCTC KTECH Program (with area high schools) and offered through the Workforce Solutions department. 

What are my career choices?

Community Healthcare Workers serves as health advocates for needs of individuals by assisting community residents in effectively communicating with healthcare providers or social service agencies, promotes health within a community by assisting individuals to adopt healthy behaviors; and assists in  implementation of programs that promote, maintain, and improve individual and overall community health.

What certificate can I earn?

Job Outlook

Overall employment of health education specialists and community health workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 16,000 openings for health education specialists and community health workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force.

  1. Advocate for individual and community needs:  Community health worker roles include engaging communities and individuals in advocating for themselves, articulating and advocating on behalf of the needs of the community and individuals (especially those unable to speak for themselves), and understanding the resources and support available in local communities.
  2. Navigate health and human services systems:  Community health worker roles include promoting access to primary care through culturally competent outreach and enrollment strategies, making referrals and coordinating services, educating patients on the knowledge and skills needed to obtain care, providing follow-up series to facilitate continuity of care, enhancing access to coverage by assisting clients in enrolling in public assistance and other programs for which they qualify, and linking clients to and informing them of available community resources.
  3. Bridge gaps through networking with communities and health/social service systems to remove barriers:  As members of the local community, community health workers are well positioned to facilitate communication between provider and patient to clarify cultural practices, educate community members about appropriate use of the health care and social service systems, and educate the health and social service systems about community needs and perspectives.
  4. Care coordination: As a care coordinator or care management team members, CHWs help individuals with complex health conditions to navigate the health care system and transition care for the healthcare provider to be handled in the home environment.  The liaise between the transition care from the healthcare provider to be handled in the home environment.  They liaise between the target population and a variety of health, human and social services organizations.  They may support individuals by providing information on health and community resources, coordinating transportation, and making appointment s ad delivering appointment remainders.  Additionally, CHWs may work with patients to develop care management goals and use other tools to track their progress over time (e.g. food and exercise logs).  CHWs serve as a care transition coach for rural elders who were discharged from home health services or rehabilitation units.
  5. Provide health education, preventive health promotion, health coaching and reinforcement:  Community health workers provide direct services to patients and providers, including providing culturally appropriate information on health, wellness, and disease prevention and management; assisting clients in self-management of chronic illnesses and medication adherence; organizing and/or facilitating support groups; providing referrals and linkages to preventive services (e.g. screening); and conducting health-related screenings.
  6. Build individual and community capacity:  Community health workers work to identify individual and community needs.  They help build the capacity of individuals for wellness.  They help build the capacity of communities by addressing the social determinants of health.  They also mentor other community health workers to build their capacity.  They promote their own professional development through continuing education and peer support.
  7. Competency-based training and credentialing program:  Kentucky is currently looking at a competency-based training program which would include standardized curriculum and certificate program for community health workers.  If the program is approved for credentialing, a Community Health Worker would be certified by the state and would have to meet state guidelines to remain certified.  This will be obtained through a partnership between Hazard Community and Technical College and University of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Rural Health.
  8. Developing a stable source of funding:  Sustaining of the program will be student tuition generated. Additionally, most Community Health Worker programs are grant funded and are always monitoring available grants to keep the program funded.
  9. Write reports using effective communication in standard written English. Such reports will convey necessary information to all personnel.
Course Course Title Credit Hours
CHW 101 Communication for Community Health Worker 1 1
CHW 102 Organizational and Community Outreach 1 1
CHW 103 Advocacy 1 1
CHW 104 Health Coaching 1 1
CHW 105 Organization of Community Health Worker 1 1
CHW 106 Legal and Ethics for Community Health Worker 1 1

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Workforce Solutions

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