Grant to fund 30 new health workers

Health Care Access Now has received $100,000 from the Ohio Department of Health to help it add another 30 community health workers to southwest Ohio.

The money awarded by the state will help HCAN to recruit and train two new cohorts of community health workers. A total of 30 workers will be trained under the grant and will be ready to enter the workforce by May 2023. Since 2018, 108 people from across the state of Ohio have become community health workers.

HCAN, founded by community leaders in 2009 to improve health outcomes in the region, is a $1.6 million-revenue nonprofit that partners with primary care, behavioral health and social services and provides health care coordination.

Community health workers interact one-on-one with people in marginalized communities who face obstacles to achieving good health outcomes. The workers are certified by HCAN and are trained to work with pregnant, pediatric and adult clients with chronic conditions. Their mission is to help clients break down barriers to wellness and navigate the complicated matrix of social services systems, thereby improving health outcomes. 

Sarah Mills, CEO of Health Care Access Network

“CHWs play an essential role in reaching people who are more likely to face difficulty accessing consistent medical care and insurance coverage,” said Sarah Mills, HCAN’s CEO. “Some of the most effective CHWs come from the communities they serve, which helps them understand the particular obstacles clients face.”

Data from the Greater Cincinnati 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) shows that individuals in historically marginalized communities across our region face significant healthcare inequities and are significantly more impacted by social determinants of health. The data shows that Blacks are significantly more likely than whites to have unmet health needs for dental and allergy-related concerns, as well as mental health.

“CHWs improve health outcomes,” Mills said. “The more that we have in the field, the better able we are to reach underserved populations.”

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