Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Trailblazer and Innovator SpotLight

Posted by Chad Aleshire - On November 05, 2012 (EST)

In Week 9 of our Trailblazer and Innovator SpotLight series we take a look at the Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Coastal Region’s Community Health Worker Registered Apprenticeship program.  A Community Health Worker serves as a bridge between the community and health care system.  Community Health Workers are trained to deliver needed health information to the community so that individuals can take control of, and improve their health. 

The Texas AHEC Coastal Region is a cooperative effort between the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Coastal AHEC, Inc.  The Coastal AHEC focuses on improving the health of members of the community, with an emphasis on reaching the underserved, by creating partnerships among community and academic organizations to build and strengthen community-based education programs.

The occupation of Community Health Worker continues to grow.  The position was only recently recognized as an apprenticeable occupation and is becoming increasingly important in efforts to assist underserved populations to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.  The Community Health Worker apprenticeship program offers a 1 year apprenticeship with 200 hours of didactic training and an additional 2000-2200 hours of on-the-job learning.  The training focuses on familiarization with the medical and social services community pertinent to the employer and region.

The Texas AHEC Coastal Region was recognized as a Trailblazer and Innovator program for their efforts to professionalize this non-traditional occupation.  It was also recognized for their ability to help serve the needs of underserved populations, including the elderly, disabled, English-as-a-second language, and other populations in need of assistance in improving their access to quality health care services.

In August of this year, Executive Director of the Texas AHEC Coastal Region Leslie Hargrove was invited to Washington D.C. to represent the program during the Department of Labor’s National Education and Action Summit in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act.  Ms. Hargrove was presented with a Certificate of Recognition as a Trailblazer and Innovator program by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Administrator of Apprenticeship John V. Ladd.

Ms. Hargrove spoke on the importance of the Community Health Worker occupation and how apprenticeship is helping prepare workers in this important position.

“At the Texas AHEC we believe a Community Health Worker can be the critical connection between our underserved populations and access to quality healthcare.  Establishment of the Community Health Worker apprenticeship has enabled us to open doors for individuals looking for a career in health services.  We are excited to be recognized as a Trailblazer and Innovator program and we hope this recognition helps increase the use of apprenticeship within the health care industry.”

To learn more on the Community Health Worker apprenticeship program, we encourage you to download and share the Texas Area Health Education Trailblazer and Innovator Fact Sheet.  For more on the Texas Area Health Education Center Coastal Region, please visit http://www.cahectx.org/index.html.


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Modified On : November 05, 2012
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