KDHE launches new certification program for community health workers

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – A new certification is now available for community health workers in Kansas.

the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says he joined the Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition to announce the new Community Health Worker certification on Thursday, April 21.

The KDHE said the certification is the first in Kansas to recognize the valuable role of community health workers as a link between health and social services and communities. These workers facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.

“CHWs play an essential role in patient-centered healthcare teams. They improve access to care and health outcomes. The diversity of backgrounds, skills and experiences that CSAs bring is a strength,” said David Jordan, President and CEO of United Methodist Church Health Ministry Fund. “The new certification process standardizes the education and training of community health workers. Ultimately, this will strengthen the future of community health workers in Kansas. The Health Fund is proud to have partnered with the Kansas Community Health Worker Task Force, KDHE, and the Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition to standardize the role of CHWs in Kansas.

KDHE said a certification working group has been established to research certification pathways and has started within the coalition’s sustainability committee.

Over the past five years, the Department has stated that the development of certification has been inclusive and transparent. He said more than 40 members of the Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition were involved in the process.

“Having a certification process for CHWs is key to expanding career options and future opportunities,” said KDHE CHW Chapter Director Stefanie Olson.

KDHE says to be eligible to apply for certification, residents must complete the following:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent. Exceptions can be made.
  • Completion of one of the two courses:
    • Education Pathway – candidate must complete the KDHE-approved CHW training program through the Kansas CHW Coalition or a certified Kansas CHW training provider.
    • Work Experience Pathway – applicant must complete 800 hours over three years plus three letters of recommendation to document work or volunteer experience.

Given the important role of CHWs in promoting health equity and addressing the social determinants of health, KDHE said the efforts could not have come at a better time.

“This certification also offers CHWs serving in their communities a means to validate and build their individual and community capacity skills by increasing health literacy and self-reliance through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy,” said Alma Vargas, Executive Co-Chair of the KS CHW Coalition. “It also offers CHW employers, especially healthcare providers, key support in times of increased need for skilled healthcare professionals. This statewide recognized certification can distinguish CHWs from their peers and can help them as they work toward other goals. »

For more information on the program, click on HERE.

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James C. Tibbs