FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 28, 2023
For More Information, Contact:
Communications Director Taya Jarman, APR
202-747-3541 [email protected]
Washington, DC – The first National Community Health Workers (CHW) Awareness Week takes place Aug. 28-Sept. 1. The Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) is using the observance to highlight the importance of local CHWs in advancing health outcomes in the community.
CHWs, along with other role titles like outreach worker, family advocate and promotores de salud, are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of their communities. Through shared experiences of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, health conditions, gender identity or other attributes, CHWs play a critical role to connect individuals to healthcare and safety net resources. They increase diversity and trust in health and social systems and improve access to and utilization of services.
“CHWs are making a positive impact in our communities,” said IPHI Director, Abby R. Charles. “Many residents of our region continue to experience negative health outcomes that are socially created, unjust and preventable. These compassionate and committed individuals are helping our region’s residents navigate health systems and overcome barriers so they can live healthier lives. This week and every week, we are thankful for the work CHWs are doing to advance health equity. We also highlight the need to sustain this workforce in our region”
IPHI, a nonprofit that develops multi-sector partnerships and innovative solutions to improve the public’s health and well-being, partners with CHWs to ensure equitable health outcomes in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. IPHI CHW Sawa Kamara said, “I’ve worked for four years at the George Washington Hospital as a CHW. During my time, I was able to help hundreds of patients navigate the healthcare system. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the healthcare structure can be daunting and bewildering.”
Studies show that CHWs help reduce barriers to healthcare, improve health knowledge and chronic disease management, and reduce overall medical costs. CHWs work at local healthcare institutions, community housing organizations, social service agencies and nonprofits that help connect community members with local resources. IPHI estimates that there are over 1100 certified CHWs in the region, with many more pursuing certifications.
IPHI maintains various programs focused on training, continuing education opportunities, financial support and mentorships to support the CHW workforce.
- The Community Health Worker Academy is a training institute dedicated to expanding the public health workforce in the District of Columbia, South Maryland, and Northern Virginia.
- IPHI worked with community partners to create a Community Health Worker Registry, an online hub to connect Virginia’s CHW workforce and share educational and networking opportunities.
- More than $13 million in grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allowed us to support the hiring and training of 31 CHWs in the commonwealth. The CHWs for a Healthy VA program is exploring innovative financing strategies to help build and sustain the CHW workforce long-term.
IPHI recently interviewed CHWs across the state about their work. The organization will premiere the short documentary on its YouTube page on Monday, Aug. 28.
For more information on IPHI’s latest focus areas, services, and initiatives, visit www.institutephi.org.
About Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI)
IPHI develops multi-sector partnerships and innovative solutions to improve the public’s health and well-being across the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. IPHI’s work strengthens health systems and policy, enhances conditions that promote health, and builds community capacity to ensure equitable health opportunities. Nationally, IPHI is one of over 40 public health institutes and a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes. For more information about IPHI, visit: www.institutephi.org and follow IPHI on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram | @InstitutePHI.