Over 140 Community Health Workers (CHWs) attended the 2nd Annual San Antonio CHW/Promotor(a) Summit held on June 8th. Community Health Workers, also known as Promotores, are widely recognized as a vital part of the public health workforce in part by providing health literacy training and patient navigation services to undeserved populations. Through the many roles played by CHWs, the health disparities that exist in many parts of our nation are more effectively addressed on a community level. Texas is only one of 2 states that currently offer certification programs for CHWs.
The UT Health Science Center Briscoe Library attended the summit to promote resources from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) that support public health workers and health consumers alike with trusted health and research information. Peg Seger, Head of Outreach Services, and Patrick Lemelle, Outreach Library Assistant, provided demonstrations on MedlinePlus and PubMed while distributing and answering questions on many other NLM products and services. Of particular interest were the NLM Mobile Apps and Sites.
Earlier in the year, the Briscoe Library had collaborated with the University Health System CareLink program on a video in which the partnership between the library and the University Health System CareLink program was featured with a focus on the CareLink Patient Education Initiative: Using MedlinePlus Videos to Reach the Underserved. The CareLink Patient Education Initiative depends heavily on student interns from the Northwest Vista College Community Health Program in San Antonio. The video was played for summit attendees during a presentation by Rafael Maldonado, CareLink Education Director. This and a new MedlinePlus exhibit banner created quite a bit of additional interest in the use of NLM resources such as MedlinePlus.
Briscoe Library Outreach Services Assistant Patrick Lemelle and new MedlinePlus exhibit banner
Some Key Texas CHW Facts:
In the state of Texas, 280 individuals graduated from a DSHS-certified community health worker certification training program of at least 160 hours in 2011. A total of 53 instructors were newly certified…As of December 31, 2011, there were 1,583 community health workers, an increase of 37% as compared to 1,153 community health workers at the end of 2010. The number of Texas counties with at least one certified community health worker grew from 82 counties at the end of 2010 to 101 counties as of December 31, 2011, an increase of 23%. In the UT Health Science Center Libraries outreach services area, Hidalgo County has 153, Bexar 106, Cameron 98, Webb 25, Starr 7, and Willacy 0. Bexar county along with Webb, Hidalgo and Cameron are all locations for Promotor(a)/Community Health Worker Training & Certification Programs.
Texas Department of State Health Services, Community Health Workers – Promotor(a) or Community Health Worker Training and Certification Program. 2011 Annual Report: Promotor(a) or Community Health Worker Training and Certification Advisory Committee. Available at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/mch/chw/workforce.aspx . Accessed 6/15/12