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The Wyoming Rural Health Institute Launches Community Health Worker Training Program
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) – The Wyoming Rural Health Institute has recently introduced a new initiative called the Community Health Worker Training Program. This program, which is offered through the University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences, aims to create new career opportunities in the healthcare field and expand Wyoming’s workforce in improving access to and utilization of care.
Community health workers (CHWs) play a crucial role in communities as frontline agents of change. They assist individuals in navigating the healthcare system, incorporating healthy behaviors into their lives, and working towards overall health and wellness. CHWs, who are nonclinical professionals and members of the communities they serve, provide patient education, act as advocates, and help community members navigate the healthcare and social services systems.
This profession has a significant impact, particularly in rural communities. However, many states lack formal, statewide training and certification programs for CHWs.
The University of Wyoming’s CHW Training Program is an online and asynchronous program. It consists of four mini-courses that can be completed in just six months. Learners gain competencies in eight areas, including upholding professional standards and facilitating community-level health and wellness change.
Bryant Smalley, the executive director of the Wyoming Rural Health Institute, expresses excitement about the launch of the program’s second cohort. Smalley states, “Expanding access to CHWs is an evidence-based approach to improve health outcomes in communities facing health inequities, including rural and frontier communities. Our hope is that this new career pathway will generate employment opportunities and enhance patient outcomes.”
Nearly 50 trainees, including individuals from various parts of Wyoming, have already started the educational program across the two cohorts. For Wyoming residents, the program is free of charge due to grant funding. Additionally, trainees can receive support for school supplies and have the opportunity to complete a paid apprenticeship after finishing the coursework.
Jacob Warren, the dean of UW’s College of Health Sciences, sees community health workers as a critical addition to the healthcare workforce in Wyoming. Warren says, “Through this program, we are excited to further expand the college’s central mission of providing health and wellness professionals for all of Wyoming.”
For more information about UW’s CHW Training Program, visit www.uwyo.edu/hs/chw or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program is supported by a $3 million federal grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under grant number T29HP46748. The statements in this release do not reflect the opinions of HRSA, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the U.S. government.
About the Wyoming Rural Health Institute:
The Wyoming Rural Health Institute is an interdisciplinary hub for rural and frontier health-related research, training, and community engagement. It is supported by over $8 million in federal funding. The institute collaborates with local, state, and national entities to discover, implement, and research the impact of innovations in rural and frontier health.
About UW’s College of Health Sciences:
UW’s College of Health Sciences provides training and education for health and wellness professionals and researchers in various disciplines. These include medicine, nursing, pharmacy, speech-language pathology, social work, kinesiology, public health, health administration, and disability studies. The college also oversees residency and fellowship programs in Casper and Cheyenne, as well as operating clinics in Laramie, Casper, and Cheyenne.
With a student body of over 1,600 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, the college is dedicated to training the health and wellness workforce of Wyoming and conducting high-quality research and community engagement, with a particular focus on rural and frontier populations.
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