Representatives from the Community Care HUB, an initiative of the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health, recently attended a roundtable discussion with U.S. Senator Bob Casey to discuss the positive impact Community Health Workers (CHWs) have had on our region and the need for sustainable funding to grow this workforce.
CHWs Christy Berzonski and Caitlyn Farber, employed through HUB partner agency Alleghenies United Cerebral Palsy (AUCP), and the center’s Executive Director Jeannine McMillan, met with the Senator in Philadelphia, along with representatives from the Penn Center for Community Health Workers, on September 24. There, they provided an overview of their work and shared positive stories of the impact they have had on individuals in their communities.
For years, CHWs have been providing services to their local communities to meet immediate needs and tackle long-standing inequities. CHWs are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of, or have an unusually close understanding of the community they are serving. This trusting relationship enables the worker to serve as a critical liaison between health, social services and the community. There are approximately 60,000 CHWs in the country, employed by grassroots organizations, hospitals, clinics, or public health departments with funding from a patchwork of grants and pilot funding.
“We are grateful to Senator Casey for his support of this essential workforce and recognition of the amazing work that CHWs are doing across the Commonwealth and the country,” said Jeannine McMillan, Executive Director, 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health. “We were able to share with the Senator examples of the challenges individuals in our community are faced with and the positive impact having a CHW working with them makes on their lives.”
The Community Care HUB, covering Cambria and Somerset counties, aims to impact health outcomes by addressing risk factors associated with poor health outcomes. A HUB is an organized, outcome focused, network of Care Coordination Agencies (CCAs) who hire and train community health workers (CHWs) and connect at-risk individuals to needed services. The HUB model involves the collaboration of all community resources to reduce both medical and social barriers to care, like employment, housing and transportation, for individuals with complex health needs. HUB CCAs include Alleghenies United Cerebral Palsy; Beginnings, Inc.; and Community Action Partnership of Cambria County.
Currently, HUB CHWs are working with pregnant women living in Cambria or Somerset Counties, either receiving or eligible for Medical Assistance or diagnosed with gestational diabetes, as well as families identified by the guidance counselor at the Greater Johnstown Elementary School who have significant social determinant of health needs. There is no cost for services. To learn more about the Community Care HUB or make a referral, click here; or call 814-535-5156 or email HUB@jefferson.edu.