As part of Pennsylvania’s Health Enterprise Zone to improve health incomes across North Philadelphia, NKCDC will be hiring 8-10 community health workers and certified peer specialists to conduct health screenings and connect residents to health care, healthy food, credit and budget counseling, and other social service resources.
The initiative, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, addresses the “social determinants of health”—economic and social conditions like stress, employment, housing quality, or access to food that have a profound effect on people’s health.
“Community health workers encourage partnerships and collaboration between health care providers, community organizations, and residents to address inequities and barriers to health care services, reduce health care costs, and help residents lead healthier lives,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said.
“Health is a fundamental human right, and we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to the same level of health and quality of life,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.
Beginning July 22, 2019, NKCDC will offer a three-week Community Health Worker and Certified Peer Specialist training led by Jefferson University. The training is paid, and may lead to part-time employment or workforce coaching with NKCDC.
Community health workers bridge the gap between health care providers and patients by helping patients navigate the health systems and social support services available in their community, as well as advocate for the patients they work with. Community health workers are trained by medical and public health professionals and typically come from the communities they work with, ensuring cultural competence as they help residents live healthier lives.
“Certification programs like these give NKCDC an opportunity to offer additional employment to neighborhood leaders,” said NKCDC’s Community Engagement Director, Andrew Goodman. “The skills that make someone a good block leader are very employable and marketable skills.”