Project Description Narrative:
Eliminating health disparities is a task that cannot be done by health systems alone. Increasingly, evidence is demonstrating the positive impact that community health workers (CHWs) can have on access to care, health outcomes, and health disparities.
CHWs are trustworthy individuals who improve health within their own communities through social support, navigation, health coaching, and advocacy. They often share life experiences with the people they serve, and exude trust-building traits that build strong connections in the communities in which they live and work. Across the nation, CHWs are positively impacting diverse communities around chronic disease management, health insurance enrollment, immunization access, mental health services, and more. Overall employment of CHWs is projected to grow 13% by 2029. However, while the need for CHWs is growing in both interest and demand, the practice lacks openly available training opportunities.
Through this award, project partners aim to expand the recruitment and training of CHWs from underserved communities statewide using a health system approach to build a sustainable workforce that can address both health system and community needs.
Wisconsin Area Health Education Centers, UW Interprofessional Continuing Education Partnership, UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity, Walnut Way, Employ Milwaukee
Lauren Bauer, MD, MPH, Medical College of Wisconsin