Two of HLC’s Community Health Workers, Dominique Horn and Bill Judd, were invited by Kathy Burgoyne of Healthy Generations to speak at Renton Technical College to an audience of educators, medical practitioners and med tech staff. The purpose was to create further awareness in the medical community regarding the value of the Community Health Worker pilot project in SW Washington and as Dominique stated “to bring a heartbeat to it.”
Bill shared with the school audience the success of the CHW pilot in affecting a positive outcome for the residents of Courtyard Village, not only in raising funds to assist in their relocation but also to provide residents with all the information needed to take advantage of resources in a timely way. He said, “The big picture going forward is to expand this pilot project of Community Health Workers so it’s important for health educators to understand the model. CHWs are inside the community and bring back out information to service providers in order to affect real, long term system change.”
Dominique focused her presentation on the real need that may not be met by the typical services provided. In one case a community friend was experiencing an urgent housing need and, because she was deaf, an extensive search requiring numerous calls seemed daunting. Dominique knew the situation would require several hours of phone inquiries that would exceed, as she describes, “the typical green sheet of named resources.” She offered to phone each resource (one often leading to another) and patiently texted each potential solution from her phone to the woman’s computer while they sat side by side on Dominique’s porch. She was able to locate a resource which uniquely provides services to the deaf community. Dominique was able to negotiate an extended stay at the current shelter to bridge the gap to the move-in date at the new shelter. This was a relief for the mom who wouldn’t have to spend nights in her car while looking for a permanent housing solution.
When CHWs work closely with those in the community who find themselves in real need of resources that affect their long term health, they can receive vital information from the consumer in a way that someone in the “system” cannot do and thereby inform the system toward real change.
The HLC looks forward to continued work in expanding this pilot project of CHWs and is excited to also announce a new partnership with Consumer Voices are Born who will create a permanent work facility for the CHWs of SW Washington as they continue to affect systems for positive change.
For further information regarding HLC’s transition to a partnership with CVAB, read the HLC Transition Letter.