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Good news for Texans!
A $3 million grant will help UT Health San Antonio train 275 new community health workers (CHWs) and support an additional 75 CHWs in maintaining state certification.
The grant, issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services/Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will train CHWs across 38 South Texas counties from Brownsville to Laredo, including the area’s rural communities.
The grant is part of the federal government’s $226.5 million investment in the nation’s community and public health workforce, announced in September 2022.
The Importance of CHWs
Also known as promotoras de salud and patient navigators, CHWs connect patients to healthcare and facilitate communication between healthcare providers and patients, including Spanish-speaking Latinos.
In a state like Texas, which has a large Latino population (40.2%) that suffers from high rates of chronic conditions and COVID-19 cases, CHWs are vital to community and Latino health.
In fact, a UT Health San Antonio study found that CHWs’ work can help reduce health inequities and improve patient health.
“In an overburdened health system, CHWs have proven essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to contact tracing, education, and vaccination efforts. They are simultaneously helping to address the social determinants of health, including economic stability, access to healthcare and education, for better health and well-being,” said Dr. Jason Rosenfeld, director for global health education with the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at UT Health San Antonio.
Rosenfeld is also the CHW program’s principal investigator and director, and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine.
This funding will help connect Texas’ vulnerable populations, such as Latinos, to much-needed health services.
“CHWs are vital to Latino health, and without their important work, Latinos and all people may not be able to get the help they need,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of Salud America! and its home base, the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.
Grant Brings More Potential for a Healthier Future
UT Health San Antonio officials are hopeful this initiative will raise awareness of the importance of CHWs in healthcare and increase interest in CHW training programs.
“We want to create pipelines for individuals who may not be aware that community health worker is a profession,” Rosenfeld said. “We want South Texans to know that they can become a certified CHW and serve their communities in a meaningful way.”
Community health workers promote health equity and public health by bridging the gap between healthcare settings and the community.
You can help promote equitable change, too.
Select your county and get a Health Equity Report Card by Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.
In your report card, you will see maps, data, and gauges to compare health equity and public health issues to the rest of your state and nation.
You can email your Health Equity Report Card to local leaders to stimulate community change. Use the data in your materials or share on social media to raise awareness.
Get your Health Equity Report Card!
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