Idaho State to Receive $3 Million Grant to Establish Collaborative Community Health Worker Program
POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) – Idaho State University is set to receive nearly $3 million over several years to establish a collaborative community health worker program for the state, designed to grow the workforce of community and public health.
The State of Idaho is one of four beneficiaries in the Northwest and the only beneficiary in Idaho. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded 83 recipients nationwide a total of $225.5 million through the Health Resources and Services Administration to fund the Community Health Worker Training Program .
The Community Health Worker Training Program is a new, multi-year program that sponsors training and apprenticeships to support approximately 13,000 community health workers nationwide, including 400 community health workers in Idaho through the UIS Community Health Worker Training Academy. Community health workers connect people to care, build trust within communities, and facilitate communication between patients and health care providers. They may also be known as promotores de salud, community health counselors, outreach workers, patient navigators, and peer counselors.
“Community health programs are essential to raising public health awareness in the state and improving the quality of care in many underserved communities in Idaho,” said U.S. Senator Mike Crapo.
Idaho State University is a leader in providing unique education and training to expand community health work in Idaho.
Ryan Lindsay, chair and associate professor in the Department of Community and Public Health at Idaho State University, said communities in Idaho depend on community health workers for health information and to connect individuals to community resources.
Lindsay works closely with a team to run the Idaho Community Health Worker Training Program and is partnered with Michael Mikitish, Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Services at ISU Meridian Institute of Emergency Management to oversee the project. Lindsay and Mikitish argue that community health workers play an important role as a bridge between traditionally underserved populations and needed health information; support and care; as well as basic and social services.
“Community health workers often help prevent disease and solve the following problems: chronic disease management, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, substance abuse, asthma and navigating our health system when they have limited resources,” Mikitish said.
This investment from HRSA will help the State of Idaho fund education programs that will ensure community and public health workers have the skills to provide effective community outreach, increase access to care, and assist with services. essential for prevention and treatment.