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Continuing Education Highlights:

 This year, SEAHEC has provided 10 trainings and one conference in southern Arizona for health professionals. The 10th Annual Caregivers Conference drew 90 caregivers and home health aides on October 9, 2015. SEAHEC also conducted a series of trainings for community integrated paramedicine personnel, and we piloted a series on the Affordable Care Act and benefits counseling for community health workers (CHWs) in southern Arizona. Read more.

SEAHEC & Local Fire Departments Partner to Enhance Paramedic Skills

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Rio Rico Fire & Medical District EMS staff after a medication management training led by Kelly Boesen, Pharm D from the AZ Poison & Drug Center, one of the partners in the HRSA grant.

 SEAHEC plays a key role in building our emergency response workforce. For many years, the Nogales Fire Department and Rio Rico Fire and Medical District have partnered with SEAHEC to improve health outcomes in Santa Cruz County by  providing training for emergency medical services personnel. We are working with local service providers in a new initiative to build their capacity to provide services through “community para medicine.”

Community para medicine programs create innovative community driven strategies to improve access to resources while reducing demand for local Emergency Medical Services. Frequent use of EMS services for preventable or non-emergency situations can strain local department resources that can hinder efficient response to emergencies. The community para medicine model integrates community health assessment and education strategies to reduce the number of calls made to fire departments that are related to home accidents, such as falling, or chronic disease. With more information about managing chronic disease, improving home safety, and how to utilize appropriate health services, community members gain the power to prevent health problems, enjoy better access to community resources and a safer community.

SEAHEC’s role in this innovative process included providing technical assistance, capacity building support, and developing a training curriculum for EMS staff on providing community health education, home health and safety assessments, and referrals for services. With funding from the Santa Cruz Community Foundation, SEAHEC placed health professions students from the University of Arizona with the Nogales Fire Department. The students helped NFD analyze 911 call data to learn how chronic disease related calls impact NFD resources. The study included an analysis of the previous year’s call data to identify frequent 911 users, who could benefit from health education. This information will help the fire department improve efficiency and staff deployment.

SEAHEC also helped the Rio Rico Fire and Medical District (RRFMD) obtain funding from the US Health Resources and Services Administration’s Rural Health Services Outreach Program. (HRSA) In May, 2015 the RRFMD was awarded a three year grant to develop their program, which is called is the Community Healthcare Integrated Para medicine Program (CHIPP). The program aims to improve health outcomes, reduce emergency department visits and hospital re-admissions by increasing chronic disease knowledge, improving medication management, linking clients to community resources and educating clients on home safety. SEAHEC is leading the training for the initiative.

Training topics include motivational interviewing, community health worker/community integrated paramedic coordinated care, management of patients’ chronic conditions and health behaviors, cardiac and respiratory disease care, and other topics. On January 29th, 2016 SEAHEC will hold the 24th Annual EMS on the Border Conference. The agenda includes diverse topics: Bees, Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) guidelines, Pediatric Dyspnea, Spice and other bad stuff, Sex Trafficking, Burns, and more. Continuing education credits will be available for EMS personnel and nurses. Registration is on Eventbrite at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-ems-on-the-border-conference-registration-19802615155.

For more information about training for health professionals, contact Suzanne David, sdavid@seahec.org

Community Health Integrated Paramedic Program (CHIPP) Training

A description of the CHIPP trainings to date includes:


Diabetes to 14 EMS providers


Asthma/COPD to 20 EMS providers

Chronic Heart Failure/MI to 24 EMS providers


Behavioral Health to 19 EMS providers

Medication/Medication Reconciliation to 19 EMS providers

SEAHEC leads CASA SALUDABLE, an Innovative Health Insurance Marketplace Consortium

Casa Saludable Pilot Training, December 2015

Casa Saludable Pilot Training, December 2015

Last August, SEAHEC, and partners launched an innovative collaboration to improve access to health insurance and health services in southern Arizona. The initiative also provides workforce development opportunities for community health workers, who link rural and underserved communities in Cochise, Pima and Santa Cruz Counties to Arizona’s health insurance marketplace.

The eight member Consortium, known as “Casa Saludable” (Healthy House) are training CHWs in each county to conduct outreach and education with anticipated reach of 20,000 people during the life of the project. Of those, SEAHEC expects approximately 25% to enroll in health coverage. The Consortium will reach people already enrolled to help them make the most of their insurance plans and identify a health home. CHWs will provide health insurance customers with health insurance literacy education and information on how to access services from local health care providers.

Casa Saludable uses an integrated set of strategies to achieve these goals, which includes:

Use of culturally competent bilingual community health workers (CHWs), “promotores de salud” to provide appropriate outreach and education.

  • “In reach” or training and support of CHW staff members so that they are better prepared to conduct education and enrollment activities in coordination with partner agencies;
  • Use of a “promising practice” – integrated tools for master trainers, a Train the trainer (TtT) model for providing education on ACA, benefits counseling and accessing health services.

Casa Saludable Consortium members include SEAHEC, a health workforce development agency, AzCHOW, Arizona’s professional association for community health workers in Arizona, Pima County Access Program which provides health care access and assistance to low income uninsured in southern Arizona, and four federally qualified health centers: Chiricahua, serving Cochise County, Mariposa, serving Santa Cruz County and El Rio and Desert Senita, serving Pima County. In Cochise County, Cochise Health and Social Services also provide outreach and education assistance through its established network of social services.
In December, the Consortium wrapped up a successful first quarter by laying down the foundation that will guide and sustain the initiative’s activities over the next three years. Milestones include:

  • A strategic plan submitted to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA,) which funds the initiative and,
  • An ACA 101 pilot training for CHWs to assure the curriculum is culturally appropriate and easily understood.

To date, the Casa Saludable Consortium has enrolled over 2,000 persons into health coverage. For more information contact SEAHEC Executive Director Gail Emrick at gemrick@seahec.org.

“This project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.”

AzCHOW Launches Training Center

AzCHOW Training Center

AzCHOW board members and Yanitza Soto, AzDHS CHW Program Manager L-R Front row: 2015 Felicia Sander, board member, Yanitza Soto, Floribella Redondo, President, Maria Lourdes Fernandez, Treasurer. Back row: Lorena Verdugo, Vice President, and Roxana De Niz, member.

The launch of the Casa Saludable “inreach” training program also signals the launch of  Arizona’s new state wide Community Health Worker Training Center. For over a decade, AzCHOW, as Arizona Community Health Outreach Workers Network, has provided an annual training conference for CHWs that included policy and advocacy information, along with community health topics, in an effort to build CHW capacity and support for CHW integration into the healthcare workforce. The Affordable Care Act has resulted in increased investment in CHW initiatives, including the funding for Casa Saludable, which has opened professional doors for CHWs. AzCHOW has responded to recent policy changes by moving away from the informal advocacy network model to become the Arizona Community Health Workers Association whose primary goals include becoming the primary state recognized CHW training provider in Arizona.

AzCHOW’s Training Center provided two ACA trainings in the last quarter of 2015. The first ACA 101 pilot training drew five community health workers from across southern Arizona, and the second was provided to Chiricahua Community Health Center’s staff and board member. AzCHOW Training Center’s future trainings will be open to CHWs from other agencies. CHWs and their employers interested in Benefits Counseling/Marketplace Education should look for announcements on the AzCHOW website at www.azchow.org.

For more information on ACA trainings and or other CHW trainings contact: Floribella Redondo, AzCHOW President, Project Coordinator for Casa Saludable at: floribella@azchow.org