Troy University’s Community Health Workers certificate program is entering its second year, and the University’s College of Health and Human Services is currently taking applications for upcoming sessions, the first of which will begin later this month.
The Community Health Workers certificate program is made possible by a $3 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administered through the University’s School of Nursing and School of Social Work and Human Services in partnership with The Wellness Coalition, the three-year grant is helping to train and place Community Health Workers in underserved areas within the state to help educate and direct residents in those areas to available health care services.
Community Health Workers are trusted members of their communities who empower their peers through education, helping to connect residents with to available health care resources.
In its first year, the free, online program trained five cohorts of Community Health Workers, reaching individuals in 40 of Alabama’s 67 counties. Year two will soon get under way with program start dates set for Aug. 28, Sept. 11 and Sept. 25. Those interested in applying for the training should visit troy.edu/communityhealth.edu.
“We were very excited that we could reach such a wide area of the state in our first year of training,” said Dr. Wade Forehand, Director of TROY’s School of Nursing. “We are excited about starting our second year with these three new start dates in August and September and are accepting applications now.”
The program covers a 12-week period, the first 10 of which includes weekly modules that trainees complete at their own pace. The last two weeks of the program will provide students with a 60-hour internship experience. The trainees are eligible for stipends in the amount of $5,000 for successful completion of the program, which are intended to help reduce barriers to success such as childcare expenses, travel expenses, training costs and technology needs, among others.
To be eligible for the program, participants must hold a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent; be a U.S. citizen or a foreign national having possession of a visa permitting permanent residence in the U.S.; be a resident of the state of Alabama with priority given to trainees from underserved/vulnerable communities; and a willingness to complete the program in its entirety.
Dr. Forehand said the application process is competitive and the program has received interest from more than 1,000 individuals in its first year.
“This training is aimed at those who want to make a difference in their communities, those that care about improving health care that is available not only for the state, but also for those in their communities, their neighbors,” he said. “Community Health Workers are really involved in that grassroots, community level. It is not easy work, but it is very rewarding and personally gratifying to be able to serve the community in this capacity and help to improve the health of those people that they see every day.”
The program is the state’s first and only recognized Community Health Worker Program registered through the Alabama Office of Apprenticeships.
“This achievement underscores our commitment to advancing community health initiatives in the state,” said Dr. Javier Boyas, Professor and Director of the School of Social Work and Human Services. “Our efforts are geared towards making community health work more prominent in Alabama and we continue to work to establish community connections with health-minded organizations throughout the state.”
Health organizations that are interested in learning more about the training program or who are interested in hiring Community Health Workers can fill out an interest form on the website.