The Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center (AHEC) has received a $520,000 grant to build a statewide Community Health Worker (CHW) network and infrastructure

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The Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center received a $520,000 grant from the Vermont Department of Health to advance health equity in Vermont by expanding and supporting the profession of community health worker as an integral part of the health workforce. The grant was awarded in conjunction with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiative to support local efforts to address health disparities related to COVID-19 and the disparities that persist in low-income communities. income and communities of color.

This 18-month grant is the largest ever received by AHEC Southern Vermont, which said the grant funding will provide the opportunity to establish appropriate training and credentials to create a career pipeline for expand the workforce of community health workers (CHWs) both clinical and community. settings. Focusing on the communities most disproportionately affected by adverse health effects, the initiative is designed to support and recognize community health workers as uniquely skilled and essential members of the public and community health workforce.
“Investing in a statewide network with strong community partnerships is a key part of building this vital and essential workforce to reduce health disparities and advance health equity. in Vermont,” said Jennifer Woolard, chronic disease program specialist at the Vermont Department of Health. “We are excited to work with the Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center to support training, creating career paths, and strengthening a peer-to-peer network for community health workers.”

AHEC of Southern Vermont enlisted Katina Cummings to manage the Community Health Worker Project, to spearhead this initiative across the state. Formerly the Health Workforce Program Manager for AHEC Northern Vermont, Katina brings an incredible skill set to this position, having extensive experience in organizational management, leadership, policy and planning projects in the public health, behavioral health and social services sectors. , and strive to provide health equity-focused interventions for people living in rural and underserved areas. Katina is also active on the state refugee health committee and sits on the board of the Vermont Public Health Association.

“Community health workers, as essential workers, will serve as navigators between health, social services and the community to ensure the delivery of services aimed at improving the health and well-being of our most vulnerable populations”, said Jennifer Scott, director of AHEC Southern Vermont. director. “Our team is excited to lead this statewide initiative on behalf of the AHEC Network and with the full support of our great community partners. Our board and I feel very fortunate to have attracted an extremely talented project manager to guide our efforts. »
“Katina Cummings, the initiative’s new director, said the program will build on Vermont’s work to develop and support an essential, credentialed workforce to integrate social care practices into the delivery health care, from primary prevention to the treatment of chronic diseases. “We know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, CHWs have made and continue to make invaluable contributions to reducing health disparities among underserved communities. I am thrilled to take this work forward with a team of committed, experienced and dynamic professionals, including Susan White, our Director of Health Career Readiness and Practitioner Support, said Cummings.

For more information on the Community Health Worker Project, contact [email protected] or call 802.885.2126 x106.

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About AHEC of Southern Vermont: The Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is a nonprofit educational organization committed to increasing access to primary and preventive care through the development of workforce, especially in our rural and underserved communities. We strengthen community efforts to develop and retain the healthcare workforce in southern Vermont and invest our resources to connect students to healthcare careers, healthcare professionals to communities, and communities to better health. Southern Vermont AHEC is one of two independent regional AHEC centers funded by federal, state, and community support working in partnership with the Office of Primary Care and the AHEC Program at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine.

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