This sizeable grant of $180 thousand from CareSource’s Community Reinvestment Activities Fund will allow Health Care Access Now (HCAN) to recruit and train Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Ohio.
- HCAN will allocate the funds to prioritize CHW recruitment from African American, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous communities, providing full scholarships for 50 individuals.
- African American, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous racial and ethnic minority groups in Ohio face significant health disparities and need additional support to achieve positive health outcomes.
- HCAN’s ultimate goal is to build a primary care-integrated, community-centered system for the uninsured and other vulnerable populations in the region.
With these funds, HCAN will have increased ability to focus on improving health, advancing equity, and eliminating health disparities in vulnerable populations. CHWs provide community-based care coordination services, identifying needs and eliminating barriers to good health outcomes.
CareSource’s Community Reinvestment Activities Fund granted $180,000 to Health Care Access Now (HCAN). HCAN will use the funds to recruit and train Community Health Workers (CHWs) for certification. It will concentrate its recruitment efforts on racial and ethnic minority groups that face health disparities and benefit from support to reach good health outcomes. This issue impacts the Greater Cincinnati area in multiple ways, one of the most tragic being the high infant mortality rate in Hamilton County versus other counties in Ohio.
CHWs work one-on-one with vulnerable community members to determine their obstacles to health. They are trained, through HCAN’s CHW certification program, to use the Pathways Community Hub Model as a framework to uncover and eliminate barriers preventing good health. They provide education and connect clients to resources that can assist them in overcoming these issues, which could range from lack of access to transportation to intimate partner violence to smoking cessation.
“When CHWs are recruited from the communities they serve, it does two things,” says Sarah Mills, CEO of HCAN. “First, they build trust more easily with clients because they have often experienced similar issues. Second, it helps them enter the health care employment sector and earn a living wage.”
This funding from CareSource allows HCAN to build and expand upon partnerships with coalitions within communities of color—especially the African American, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous communities that tend to be overlooked. Funds will be used to provide scholarships to 50 people from these communities of color for HCAN’s training program. Once they have been certified CHWs by the Ohio Board of Nursing, they can begin to actively support clients in accessing health care and achieving improved health outcomes.
“HCAN and its CHWs have been improving the health of Greater Cincinnati’s most vulnerable residents for more than a decade,” Mills says. “We bridge the gap between service systems and residents who have fallen through the cracks of the healthcare system.” Approximately 400,000 adults—20% of the region’s population—have received support from a CHW since 2009.
Eliminating health disparities in vulnerable populations and advancing equity is central to HCAN’s mission. HCAN is grateful to have received these funds, which will allow it to build on its outreach program and progress its primary care-integrated, community-centered system for the uninsured and other vulnerable populations in the region.