The Arizona Community Health Workers Association (AzCHOW) held their 13th annual training conference in Tucson on June, 16-17 2016, and it was a resounding success. Held at the Tucson University Marriott Park Hotel, the two day conference drew more than 240 community health workers, supervisors and supporters. The theme of the conference was “Celebrating the Diversity of the CHW Workforce.” The conference featured a variety of topics, chief among them were a panel on CHW workforce diversity, and a workshop on CHW Supervisor communication skills.
Panelists who provided information about their unique roles as CHWs in “Recognizing the Diversity of the CHW Workforce” included Katherine Sisto, a Community Health Representative for the San Carlos Apache Tribe. Ms. Sisto participated in SEAHEC’s Arizona Healthy Hearts Initiative in 2013, by training to become one of our Healthy Hearts master trainers. Also on the panel was Berta Carbajal, of Phoenix, who leads the Phoenix based promotora HOPE Network, and has championed community health workers for decades. Ms. Carbajal was also recognized on Friday, by the membership, with the Joel Meister award. AzCHOW’s top award for outstanding service as a CHW.
AzCHOW Vice President, Lorena Verdugo, of Tucson talked about her work with the Ventanillas de Salud, a program developed by the Mexican Department of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with community agencies to provide reliable health information, counseling and referrals to Mexicans living in the border region. Ms. Verdugo is a Community Health Navigator at El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson.
Vidal Ramirez, Behavioral Health Outreach Specialist for CENPATICO Integrated Care, provided information on the benefits community members reap as a result of a recent merger between Cenpatico, Arizona and University of Arizona Health Network. The merger is part of a larger movement to bring consumer oriented health care to Arizona, as a result of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, coloquially known as “Obama Care”
Among the highlights of the conference was a workshop given by Noel Wiggins and Leticia Rodriguez Garcia, from the Community Capacitation Center at Multnoma County Health Department in Portland Oregon. Participants explored ways for CHW supervisors to improve communication and supervision strategies to bring the best out of their CHW teams.