KDHD Announces Community Health Worker Certification

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Supports New Community Health Worker Certification

TOPEKA – the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition are excited to announce the new Community Health Worker certification. This certification is the first in the state to recognize the valuable role community health workers (CHWs) play in communities, as they serve as a link between health and social services and communities to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of the service. delivery.

“CHWs play an essential role in patient-centered healthcare teams. They improve access to care and health outcomes. The diversity of backgrounds, skills and experiences that CHWs bring is a strength,” said David Jordan, president and CEO of the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund. “The new certification process standardizes the education and training of community health workers. Ultimately, this will strengthen the future of community health workers in Kansas. The Health Fund is proud to have partnered with the Kansas Community Health Worker Task Force, KDHE, and the Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition to standardize the role of CHWs in Kansas.

A certification working group was formed from a need to investigate certification pathways and started within the coalition’s sustainability committee. Over the past five years, the development of this certification has been inclusive and transparent. More than 40 people from the Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition and beyond participated in the process.

“Having a certification process for CHWs is essential to expanding career options and future opportunities,” said Stefanie Olson, director of the CHW section of the KDHE.

“This certification also offers CHWs serving in their communities a means to validate and build their individual and community capacity skills by increasing health literacy and self-reliance through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counselling, social support and advocacy,” said Alma Vargas, Executive Co-Chair of the KS CHW Coalition. “It also offers CHW employers, especially healthcare providers, key support in times of increased need for skilled healthcare professionals. This statewide recognized certification can distinguish CHWs from their peers and can help them as they work toward other goals. »

Is this certification for you? Accreditation requires:

  • High school diploma or high school equivalent. Exceptions can be made.
  • Completion of one of these two courses.
    • Training Pathway: Candidate must complete the KDHE-approved CHW training program through the Kansas CHW Coalition or a certified Kansas CHW training provider.
    • Work experience path: the candidate must complete 800 hours over three years plus three letters of recommendation to document their work and/or volunteer experience.

Given the important role of CHWs in promoting health equity and addressing the social determinants of health, these efforts could not have come at a better time.

Visit the Community Health Worker Coalition to learn more and apply for certification, scholarships are available. Information on health topics and other resources to support CHWs can be found on the KDHE and CHW websites. Join KDHE Thursday, June 9 at Wichita State University, Rhatigan Student Center at 9 a.m. for the annual Kansas Community Health Worker Symposium. Sponsorship and scholarship opportunities are available.

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