Healthy Start Community Health Worker Course: Part I Open to Users February 27, 2017


Haelthy Start Commuity Health Worker Course

Purpose: The Healthy Start Community Health Worker Course will provide baseline (introductory) training toward the achievement of core competencies needed to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a CHW in the Healthy Start program.

Course Audience: CHWs employed or subcontracted by Healthy Start programs

Find out more:  Healthy Start Community Healthy Worker Course FAQs.

The Healthy Start EPIC center wishes to acknowledge and thank the many Healthy Start grantees who contributed to the development of the Healthy Start Community Health Worker course by participating in the course Advisory Group, CHW and CHW supervisor discussion groups, key informant interviews, video interviews, and user testing of the course.  Many thanks to: ACCESS Westside Healthy Start, Babies First, Boston Healthy Start, California Border Healthy Start, Central Hillsborough County Reachup, Crescent City WIC-PIC, Enterprise Community Healthy Start, Genesee Healthy Start, Hartford Healthy Start, Healthy Start Detroit, Healthy Start New Orleans, Healthy Start Program of the Onondaga County Health Department, Ingham County Healthy Start, Kalamazoo County Healthy Babies Healthy Start, Loving Steps, Maajtaag Mnobmaadzid Inter-Tribal Council of MI Healthy Start, Magnolia Project, Missouri Bootheel Healthy Start, New Haven Healthy Start, Robeson Health Care Corporation Healthy Start, Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, and Strong Beginnings, as well as the 93/100 Healthy Start grantees who responded to the grantee survey, and the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA).


Community Health Workers in Healthy Start

Since the Initiative’s inception in 1991, many Healthy Start programs have employed community health workers (CHWs) as front line staff working directly with program participants. CHWs go by many names in Healthy Start, including navigator, parent advocate, family educator, outreach worker, and other titles. While there is variation across local Healthy Start programs in the composition of their staff teams and the scope of work of their CHWs, nearly all Healthy Start CHWs play some role in outreach, screening and assessment, connecting participants to services, health education, participant empowerment, and community engagement.

Listen to Healthy Start CHWs describing their typical workday. Dionne works in an urban area, and Jeanna serves a rural community.

Community Health Workers in Healthy Start: Findings from the Grantee Survey

CHW Findings Report for Website cover (2)To gain a better understanding of how CHWs in Healthy Start serve women, infants, and families, the Healthy Start EPIC Center sent an online questionnaire to Project Directors in the summer of 2015. Out of 100 HS grantees, 93 completed the survey. This report presents key findings of the grantee survey.

Core Competencies for Healthy Start Community Health Workers

core competencies_coverThis document specifies a set of core competencies representing the fundamental knowledge, experience, and skills needed to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a CHW in Healthy Start, and effectively serve Healthy Start participants.

Five competencies related to CHW roles are detailed: outreach; participant screening and assessment; health education; care coordination (connection to services); and participant empowerment and community engagement (advocacy). Three competencies cover foundational skills: effective communication; cultural responsiveness and mediation; and public health. There are also five knowledge-based competencies covering: Healthy Start, and the four perinatal phases—preconception and interconception health; prenatal health; postpartum health; and parenting and child development.

In addition to serving as the foundation for development of an online “basic training” course for Healthy Start CHWs, these core competencies can be used by Healthy Start grantees to develop CHW job descriptions and to inform their own training programs for their CHW staff.