UH Honors Community Health Worker Initiative
Trust in Health II: Resiliency, Capacity, and Trust
Date: May 9th, 2020
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Who Are the UH Honors Community Health Workers (CHWs)?
First and foremost, community health workers are engaged advocates for health. From the very old-fashioned insight that good relationships build good health to innovative approaches to modeling social networks and tracking members of transient communities, CHWs are guided by a vision of better communication and better engagement. UH students train side by side with community members and learn through project-based instruction while earning a Texas DSHS Certification as a Licensed Community Health Worker.
The project teams are the links between data science and community health. The CHWs, embedded in their own communities and supported by students, faculty and staff at UH, are involved in all aspects of research from data collection to data analyses so that they can advocate for better health while responding to the community's real needs.
The UH Honors College CHW Initiative is built on empowering community capacity through research. We use the data collected not to just publish but to support the communities surrounding us. This is why the UH Community Health Worker is integral to research and the implementation of constantly improving health programs.
The work that CHW's do give UH students an opportunity to learn from underserved populations and a chance to be at the forefront of community health research and program implementation. Undergraduate students co-lead research with the CHW's. This research is done with the purpose of building capacity for the community and answering the needs of the community. Many of the projects that the UH CHW Initiative is involved in are interdisciplinary in nature and allow students to interact with different stakeholders in the community. Students can be involved in internships or different UH CHW Iniative Projects through Honors in Community Health (HICH).
What Are UH Community Health Workers Doing?
Currently community health workers are assisting the University in investigating the efficacy of the implementation of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) in areas of Third Ward and Southwest Houston. The CHW's are leading the DPP classes in their communities to help their participants prevent Type II Diabetes. These classes are being done in communities that are at most risk of developing Type II Diabetes.
In partnership with the Houston Independent School Disctrict, Baylor College of Medicine, and the City of Houston, UH CHW's assisted in preventing asthma related ER visits from children. Pediatric Asthma in the Home Stretch (PATHS) partnered CHW's with school nurses in order to help parents find asthma triggers at home and be provided with additional support to prevent asthma related ER visits.
Partnering with Mars Rover, we are piloting a new approach to STEM competitions and sustainable STEM initiatives in low-income communities by creating place-based, project-based learning opportunities in their communities.
In partnership with the AIDS Foundation, community health workers have assisted in delivering PrEP information to Third Ward community members. CHW's have also assisted in building awareness around AIDS and prevention of AIDS to these same communities. For our efforts, the UH CHW Initiative was the recipient of the 2018 Shelby Hodge Vision Award.
Where Are UH CHWs Located?
UH community health workers are embedded in the communities that they serve. We currently have active programs in Third Ward, Fondren Gardens, and Sunnyside communities. UH CHW's are advocates for their community and collaborate with UH students in bringing research to the forefront of the community.
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