Project Title: PA AHEC Community Health Worker Training Program Applicant Organization Name: Pennsylvania State Univ Hershey Med Ctr Department: Family & Community Medicine Address: 500 University Drive, P.O. Box 850, Mail Code HS72, Hershey, PA 17033-0850 Project Director Name: N. Benjamin Fredrick, MD Contact Phone Number: 717-531-4327 Fax: 717-531-3696 Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website Address: www.paahec.org The Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (PA AHEC) will establish the PA AHEC Community Health Worker Training Program (CHWTP) to expand the public health workforce, reduce health disparities, and advance health equity across the state. Our goals are to 1) expand the public health workforce by recruiting, training, and supporting 70 new CHWs, with at least 75% of them becoming newly certified CHWs in PA; 2) provide continuing education and specialized training opportunities for 20 new and current CHWs; 3) increase CHW worker readiness through field placements and apprenticeships (at least 25% of newly trained CHWs will participate in an apprenticeship) and professional development; and 4) advance health equity and support for underserved communities by increasing the number of CHWs employed as integral members of integrated care teams. PA AHEC consists of a statewide Program Office housed in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine as well as 7 regional AHEC Centers that together serve all of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. Each AHEC Center is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit with a regional board of directors. PA AHEC began training CHWs in 2009 in its Eastcentral region and has expanded this program to include training in all seven regions, with an estimated 100+ CHWs trained in the 2022 fiscal year. The current curriculum is one of nine state-accredited programs across the state. The PA AHEC CHWTP will recruit and retain CHWs from vulnerable populati
ons who will receive didactic and experiential training to address health disparities in the areas they live. Pennsylvania has persistent health disparities across race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and geography, among other factors. CHWs are trained to connect vulnerable populations with resources and access to care that will help reduce these disparities and increase positive health outcomes in their communities. Historically PA AHEC has recruited over 50% of its trainees from disadvantaged backgrounds, and over 50% of program graduates are working in medically underserved communities, data which confirms this application meets funding preference for the HRSA-22-124 NOFO. We aim to continue that recruitment to best meet the needs of communities across PA. Additionally, The PA AHEC CHWTP will assemble a CHW Advisory Board consisting of current CHWs, health educators, apprenticeship employers, field placement site managers, and CHW supervisors to inform the program's activities and ensure that the needs of CHWs across the state are being met. We will continue a longstanding collaboration with Project ECHO to provide specialized training sessions to upskill current certified CHWs and CHW managers to increase their skillset and expand knowledge. We will also continue our current partnership with the Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS) at the Penn State College of Medicine (PSCOM) to enhance the current CHW curriculum. The PA AHEC Program Office team and regional AHEC Center Directors share the responsibility for attaining these objectives. Through this work PA AHEC will expand upon its current partnerships with the PA Department of Health, Temple University, Project ECHO, and the PSCOM Department of Public Health Sciences. We will also establish new partnerships with apprenticeship partners across the state, including Geisinger Health System, St. Luke's University Health System, and Allegheny Health Network. Total funding requested to su
pport the PA AHEC CHWTP is $2,998,943.