Healthy Behaviors and Choices (e.g. Fitness, Tobacco, Opioids, Nutrition)
Sharing Session - 30 Minutes
The McLennan County Community Health Worker Initiative (MCCHWI) is grassroots, community-based health initiative utilizing the knowledge and experience of McLennan County community members to improve individual and community health in McLennan County. The mission of the MCCHWI is to bridge the gap between the community and health and social services through the integration of a grassroots community health worker program. Twelve members from the Waco community were recruited, hired, and trained utilizing a state recognized 160-hour certification curriculum to do outreach and health education through one-on-one client visits.
This three-year pilot program began in October 2016 through a grant from the Episcopal Health Foundation and local hospital resources with a goal of increasing access to care, decreasing avoidable emergency department visits, and improving health outcomes in the community. A referral process was created between the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, local hospitals, and the Federally Qualified Health Center. To date, the program has received 250 referrals, 180 have become clients. The 12 community health workers (CHWs) do their outreach and education in four high need zip codes that have a higher incidence of poverty, chronic disease, and other adverse health outcomes. CHWs focus on addressing the barriers that limit the community’s ability to benefit from available care, which increases community member's access to care and reduces the risks of utilizing the emergency department for primary care. Additional partners during the three years of implementation include two local hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Center, the local collective impact backbone organization, and the local community foundation.