University of Arizona AHEC Receives U.S. Department of Education Grant

The University of Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program recently received a three-year, $662,142 grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to form a Community Health Worker Natio

University of Arizona AHEC Receives U.S. Department of Education Grant
to Develop Community Health Worker National Education Collaborative

The University of Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program recently received a three-year, $662,142 grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to form a Community Health Worker National Education Collaborative (CHW-NEC).
The Collaborative aims to identify best practices for Community Health Worker (CHW) college-supported education through establishing a consensus about best approaches to educational program delivery strategies, instructional materials, and methods. In addition to the University of Arizona and Pima Community College, five partners from across the country (Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas) will provide technical assistance to 15 adapter institutions nationwide, with support from nationally recognized experts in the CHW field, as well as Community Health Worker leaders.

"This postsecondary innovation is responsive to non-traditional, socio-economically disadvantaged, and ethnically diverse students, including U.S./Mexico border health `promotores' and Native American tribal and Pacific Islander `community health representatives' working in rural and urban resource-poor and medically needy neighborhoods," explains Don Proulx, principal investigator.

Community Health Workers, also known as promotores(as), are people who volunteer or are employed to go into their communities to provide health promotion and disease prevention information. Responding to a shortage of health care providers, particularly in the rural areas, the CHW model has proven to be successful in disseminating information ranging from prenatal care for expectant mothers to the protection from pesticide exposure by migrant farm workers.

As the Community Health Worker field becomes more institutionalized in the U.S. health care system, education and training, which has been primarily provided on-the-job, is becoming more heavily scrutinized, adds Proulx. Furthermore, there is a growing interest in standardizing and streamlining educational efforts to take the burden off individual employment-based or community project-based programs.

The University of Arizona CHW Program has tested and validated a basic certificate program with community colleges (Pima Community College, Central Arizona College, Cochise College, and Northland Pioneer College) and has produced a competency-based curriculum resource guidebook.

Co-directors for this grant are Donald E. Proulx, Med, and E. Lee Rosenthal, PhD, MPH. For further information, contact: Nancy E. Collyer, senior program coordinator at the UA AHEC, (520) 629-4300, ext. 121 or mailto:collyer@u.arizona.edu

Collaborative Info:
Donald E. Proulx, MEd
Principal Investigator/Projector Director
Community Health Worker National Education Collaborative
Arizona Area Health Education Centers Program
(520) 629-4300, ext. 122
email: dproulx@u.arizona.edu