Community Health Worker Program Receives Second Year Grant
The Community Health Worker (CHW) Program, a joint effort of the School of Nursing (SN) and New Jersey Medical School, was so successful during its inaugural year—enhancing the health and well-being of residents of three public housing developments in Newark—that the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey has followed up its initial support with a second grant.
Under the leadership of Marsha Atkind, executive director, the Foundation made a gift of $135,000 to help launch the CHW Program in 2011. More recently, it donated just over $186,000 to fund year two. The program trains and employs individuals to serve as health advocates and healthcare navigators for their neighbors, with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes. It is focused on the Terrell Homes, Hyatt Court and Pennington Court complexes in Newark.
Ms. Atkind was the keynote speaker at the program's first graduation ceremony, which recognized CHWs after they completed the 10-week intensive training.
"This is an exceptional program, and we look forward to following its progress in the community and as a model for other healthcare institutions," she said.
Among the objectives moving forward are to recruit and train more CHWs, identify their ongoing learning needs, evaluate the program's impact through health assessments and data collection, and disseminate and present findings.
"The CHWs have visited every housing unit in these complexes to introduce themselves, explain the purpose of the program, and help community members to access primary health care through the Jordan and Harris Community Center," noted Cindy Sickora, DNP, MSN, RN, assistant professor of prelicensure programs, SN, and director of the center.
Dr. Hosseinali Shahidi, assistant professor, emergency medicine, New Jersey Medical School, also noted that the group has "gained significant insight into the needs of the community through this program and that feedback remains overwhelmingly positive."