On Friday, April 1st, the UT Health Science Center Briscoe Library exhibited at the 2011 San Antonio Community Health Worker/Promotor(a) Summit held at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa. Linda Levy and Peg Seger were there to demonstrate MedlinePlus for the Community Health Workers (CHWs) and other area health organizations in attendance. This year’s summit drew approximately 135 attendees, doubling the total for the previous year.
According to a 2010 Annual Report from the Texas Department of State Health Services:
As of December 31, 2010, there were 1,153 community health workers, an increase of 84% as compared to 625 community health workeers at the end of 2009.
The number of Texas counties with at least one certified community health worker grew form 49 counties at the end of 2009 to 82 counties as of December 31, 2010, an increase of 67%.
Community health workers must complete at least 20 hours of continuing education every two years to renew their certificate, including at least ten (10) DSHS-certified contact hours.
CHWs reach out to members of the community through school, church and home visits in order to provide health information to patient groups who are contending with chronic diseases or conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. By increasing the level of health literacy in at-risk populations, health outcomes and disease management show improvement by utilizing individuals who are drawn from the community in which patients live. The level of trust built through these efforts facilitate the communication necessary for meaningful change and health improvement.
The summit was sponsored by the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Patient Navigator Research Program, Northwest Vista College, Community Resources LLC, South Central Area Health Education Center and the San Antonio CHW/Promotor@ Association.