Healthier Washington convenes first Community Health Worker (CHW)  Task Force
  
Friends,
  
We are excited to share with you the recently released statewide  CHW Task Force Report! We've provided you with a summary below, but you can view the full report here in addition to the letter from conveners, Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman, and Director of the Health Care Authority, Dorothy Teeter, and a  statement to conveners from CHW members of the Task Force. 
  
This was an incredible gathering and we are proud of the work that Task Force members undertook, and knowing this is the not the end of the journey, look forward to the work ahead!

Warmly, 

Angeles Solis




How We Got Here

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are being recognized by state government leaders for their powerful influence and unique  ability to strengthen the health and well-being of our communities.
  
As part of the Healthier Washington initiative, convened by Secretary of Health, John Wiesman and Health Care Authority Director, Dorothy Teeter, with the purpose of developing actionable  policy recommendations for our state to better understand how CHWs play a key role in achieving these three goals: 
  1. Building Healthier Communities through a collaborative regional approach. [See Accountable Communities of Health (ACH)]
     
  2. Ensuring Health Care focuses on the Whole Person
     
  3. Improving pay for services
Process
  • The 55 CHW Task Force members represented various sectors from across the state: legislators, physical and behavioral health care delivery systems, local health jurisdictions, community-based organizations, managed care organization, Tribes, education, professional associations, labor, philanthropy, regional support networks and state government. 
  • CHWs made up the largest sector on the Task Force, representing from across the state, ranging from various roles and backgrounds, clinic and community based, volunteered and full time. 
  • The Task Force met five times from August 2015 to December 2015: 
    • 3 full task force meetings with all membership 
    • 3 workgroup meetings
Outcomes
 
The Task Force developed actionable policy recommendations, but what does actionable  mean? This means recommending policy which the state can take  real action towards.  The outcomes were: 
  • Policy Recommendations around:
    • CHW Roles & Definition
    • Training & Education
    • Finance & Sustainability Consideration
  • There were no recommendations on CHW certification. 
  • Community-based CHWs and clinic-based CHWs are to be given equal respect, importance and consideration moving forward in health reform.
  • Access to the full report here



So What's Next?

At the end of  task force, a large group of CHWs made a statement to conveners and can be read  here !

We look forward to authentic engagement, dialogue and alignment between systems and CHWs moving forward. Let's keep up the momentum! 

In 2014, the American Public Health Association submitted policy which:
"urges state governments and other entities considering creating policies regarding CHW training standards and credentialing to engage in collaborative CHW-led efforts with local CHWs and groups.. wherein 50% self identified CHWs should be established in pursuing policy development on CHW topics." 

That being said,  

What will you do help move the CHW recommendations forward?

What can we all do to promote CHW voice and leadership following this report? 

If you are a CHW or represent a group of CHWs, tell the state who you are. Let them hear from you! Request to be notified on future actions and join the feedback network  here!
 
You can contact the Health Care Authority concerning the future of CHWs in WA at:










"...We CHWs are the connectors on the frontlines...we are partners with the community and step with them together, comfort, and stand with them, offer a firm shoulder, and say, step this way, let's cross this bridge."
 
- Vaelupemaua Anitema Talamoni, 
Salishan Community Health
Advocates 
 


 

Science   Coming Soon! 

HOPE IS ___________.

Community. Trust. Wisdom. Science. Action. Collaboration.

What does hope mean to you? Join the conversation at our 2016 conference, The Science of HOPE, April 19-20 at the Hilton Seattle and Airport Conference Center

Scholarships Available
 
Our  topical agenda  is now out! Check out the great speakers and workshops we have planned. 



Community Health Worker     
[American Public Health Association 
(APHA) definition]

"A Community Health Worker (CHW)
is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unique understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the worker to serve as a liaison between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. 

"Community Health Workers" go by many names including Promotor/as de Salud, Community Health Representatives, Community Health Advisors, Peer Leaders, etc. For the purposes of this newsletter we will be using "CHW" as an   umbrella term to encompass this diverse workforce. 



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