The health disparities gap cannot be closed through research or technical innovation alone. Successful efforts must include outreach and education, based on well-established preventive care practices, to address barriers to access due to language, culture, poverty, race, and limited access to health and social services. Community health workers (CHWs) can reduce these barriers while providing cost-efficient care to the most underserved populations. Yet despite their value, CHWs (e.g., outreach workers, promotoras) remain the least-trained and least-compensated participants in the health care workforce. This grant provides support for the integration of CHWs into the health and health care systems in several ways by: (1) creating a sustainable network of CHWs; (2) developing workforce policies that will enable CHWs to establish professional credibility and strengthen preventive care methods; and (3) developing the leadership capacity of CHWs to advocate for change within their profession and scope of practice. Project deliverables include: (1) a CHW network that creates a new 501(c)(3) organization and integrates the work and objectives of 18 state associations; (2) policy analysis and training to support the CHW network's development of recommendations for credentialing and ethical standards for CHWs; and (3) advocacy and leadership training materials. This project will be considered successful if it advances the field of community health, policy options are developed for consideration and if it offers lessons learned that are applicable to other frontline workforce job categories. While this project will involve exploration of credentialing systems and the development of advocacy materials, the grantee will not use Foundation funds to support lobbying.
Amount Awarded $240,000.00
Awarded on: 8/17/2006
Time frame: 8/1/2006 - 6/30/2009
Grant Number: 55510