My story began when I first learned about Community Health Workers, and what they do. When I came back to Houston County, from the City, I had elderly parents and I went to work for the school district. Here I learned of the need in the community, that included all ages, that had no clue where to go or how to get the needed health information and/or assistance they needed, or referral or follow up services that are available.
What is a CHW?
Community Health Workers (CHWs) work in association with the local health care system (hospitals, doctors, clinics) in both urban and rural environments to bridge the gap between providers and underserved populations in need of care. They are members of the community who share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status and life experiences with those they serve.
CHWs provide culturally appropriate health education and information in order to assist people in receiving the care they need. They can give informal counseling and guidance on health behaviors; advocate for individual and community health needs; and provide some direct health services, like first aid and blood pressure screening.
Interested in becoming a Community Health Worker? Watch a video on what you would do if you were a CHW and how CHWs work with clients and communities.
Each community health worker has to renew their CHW certification every two years. Continuing Education (CE) is required for renewal. CE is intended to maintain and improve the quality of professional services provided by community health workers and instructors and to keep these individuals knowledgeable of current programs, techniques and practices.
A community health worker complete 20 contact hours of continuing education acceptable to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) during each two-year renewal period.
At least 10 hours of continuing education must come from participation in a DSHS certified training program.
No more than 10 hours may come from training programs and instructors not certified by DSHS, and may also include activities such as reading materials, audio materials, audiovisual materials or a combination. A list of resources may be found at: www.dshs.state.tx.us/chpr/chw at the Articles and Research Material link.
A contact hour is 50 minutes of attendance and participation. One-half contact hour is 30 minutes of attendance and participation during a 30- minute period.
At least 10 of the required hours must be directly related to the eight community health worker competency areas.
The remaining hours can be related to new knowledge base or programmatic activity.
East Texas AHEC offers both DSHS certified CE and non DSHS certified CE. Our CE is offered in a face to face format as well as a on-line live format. The student can choose to come to class in person or participate via the virtual, on-line classroom. The cost of each CE course is $20.