D’Youville Partners with CoNECT for Community Health Worker Certificate
D'Youville recently partnered with Community Network for Engagement, Connection, and Transformation (CoNECT) to assist in formalizing a training program and developing a professional development certificate for local community health workers.
"D'Youville faculty and staff will work alongside CoNECT staff to create training opportunities open to everyone, including current students and community members," says Renee Cadzow, chair and associate professor of Health Administration and Public Health.
CoNECT's community health worker training course focuses on core competencies, including communication and listening, ethics of care, and techniques for informal counseling and facilitating behavioral changes.
"The core competencies of a community health worker are relevant to everyone, despite their future career pursuits," adds Cadzow. "The opportunity to learn in a popular education learning environment where everyone teaches and everyone learns is refreshing to students who are accustomed to standard methods of participation and assessment.”
Jessica Bauer Walker, executive director of CoNECT, says this class has a profound impact on each of the participants. "We teach and learn in a way that is highly experiential and inclusive to all types of learners from diverse backgrounds. Those who may have had very little formal education, but have deep community experience and knowledge, are validated and equal participants in the learning process," she says.
"We have trained hundreds of [community health workers] since 2011, and it's always amazing to run into past participants and hear the amazing things they are doing in helping roles; from actual [community health worker] jobs to various forms of outreach workers, nurses, social workers, teachers, community organizers, and housing advocates," Bauer Walker adds.
As a leader in healthcare education, D'Youville is also officially endorsing the certificate that each of the participants receives after completing the course. According to Bauer Walker, "D'Youville brings us institutional resources and credibility that we would not otherwise have for community education programming."
"These opportunities for community-academic partnerships are strongly beneficial and help break down silos to move the university, our community, and our region forward through collaborative efforts," adds Bauer Walker.
The partnership between D'Youville and CoNECT states that three to four trainings will be held throughout the year. Cadzow says that other training courses like cultural competency and equity and inclusion training may be offered as the partnership grows.
“These courses are relevant to students, faculty, and staff for a healthy organizational culture that is a supportive educational environment and a professional workforce," she says.