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The Center for Public Health Initiatives and The Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition Host 3rd Annual Kansas Community Health Worker Symposium

In partnership with the Community Engagement Institute, the Kansas Community Health Worker (CHW) Coalition hosted the third annual Kansas Community Health Worker Symposium on Thursday, June 14, 2018 in Wichita. The opening keynote, presented by the Executive Director of the Tri County Rural Health Network in the delta region in Arkansas, Ms. Naomi Cottoms, addressed the importance of CHW work and how they connect, bond, and hold the communities they serve together.

Ms. Cottoms shared on the importance of networking among the workforce so that they can withstand the challenges that they face on a daily basis. She also highlighted the rapid changes in health policy impacting CHWs and that we all need to work toward helping increase the level of understanding about the value of CHWs in healthcare. Focusing on sustainable funding for the professional work they provide can be a challenge because of the daily work CHWs do to serve their communities.

Breakout sessions were offered on multiple topics, including overcoming CHW burnout, training and history of the Kansas Statewide Farmworker Health Program, the recruitment and hiring of new CHWs, health inequality, safe infant sleep, storytelling, and facilitating self-management education. The Symposium attracted attendees from across Kansas, with a total of 125 participants in attendance.

The CHW Symposium planning committee and Wichita State University’s Center for Public Health Initiatives are grateful for the support of event sponsors including the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Amerigroup, REACH Healthcare Foundation, Sunflower Foundation, Sunflower Health Plan, Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Health ICT, United Healthcare, and the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund.

One participant mentioned in their evaluation, “There are amazing people doing tough work in Kansas. I look forward to making changes in the work we are doing to help build a CHW network.” Be sure to save the date for the 2019 Kansas Community Health Worker Symposium! It will be held on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at Wichita State University!

For more information on the Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition, contact Alissa Rankin at alissa.rankin@wichita.edu. You can also visit their website at kschw.org.