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MONTANA COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER (CHW) TRAINING

Community Health Worker Fundamentals – Montana (CHW) training provides the knowledge and skills to become a Community Health Worker (CHW). A CHW can serve as a link between medical and social services and the community, as well as, support access to those services. CHWs can be engaged in various activities including outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.

 

WHAT IS A COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER?

The American Public Health Association (APHA) defines a CHW as “a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. The CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.”[i]

 

WHAT DOES THE CHW TRAINING INVOLVE?

The curriculum takes about 7 weeks to complete and includes of five online Learning Modules and 25 hours Supervised Experience conducted in a facility/ agency. Each Module contains written content, videos, application activities, case studies and reflective journaling. An individual will gain skills in the following areas: professional skills & conduct; communication; self-care; interpersonal relationships; outreach, navigation & coordination; organization; advocacy; capacity building & teaching. The CHW training is facilitated by an instructor and provides a certificate upon completion.

 

ARE THERE ANY REQUIREMENTS PRIOR TO STARTING THE CHW COURSE?

  • Trainees must be sponsored by an employer
  • High school diploma or GED is preferred
  • If needed, completion of a computer Literacy assessment & training
  • Employers may have additional requirements (talk to your employer)

 

HOW CAN I REGISTER?

CHW Curriculum is offered on a regional basis by the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC). Please register with the AHEC in your region:

AHECMAP

 

WHAT IS THE TRAINING SCHEDULE?

The training schedule is defined by each AHEC training provider independently. Please visit the AHEC website in your region (see links above on How to Register) to find out when the next course is being offered.

 

WHAT IS THE COST OF TRAINING?

Training fees can be found online on your AHEC’s registration page. Training fees are due at enrollment. Full reimbursement upon the participant’s successful completion is available.

 

WHY TRAIN CHWs IN MONTANA?

Research has proven utilizing CHWs can improve health outcomes and the quality of care while providing cost savings. They can ensure clients/patients receive individualized support and resources. They could provide direct services to reduce unnecessary emergency department visits and re-admissions.  The can connect clients/patients to the right resources the first time. Additionally, this training offers standardized curriculum that can support improved patient safety and staff retention.

 

IS THERE CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS?

Continued education on specific topics is currently under development.

 

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER APPRENTICESHIP OPTION:

CHW Apprenticeships which include on-the-job training with a mentor, incremental wage increases, and are the only way to receive Nationally Recognized Credentials for these occupations. Visit apprenticeship@mt.gov or call 406-444-4100 or email apprenticeship@mt.gov.

 

Montana Office of Rural Health/AHEC (MORH) received grant funding through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to make these and other training programs broadly available to increase the number of paraprofessionals trained in community and behavioral health across our state.

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[i] American Public Health Association Policy Statement 2009-1, November 2009