Grow Your Knowledge: Breastfeeding Workshops for Community Health Workers

Announcing Breastfeeding Workshops for Community Health Workers

A series of three workshops designed for Community Health Workers (CHWs). Learn from experts and CHWs about the importance of breastfeeding. Grow your knowledge and ability to help the families you serve. 

Email Us to Register

The Nature of Breastfeeding

July 13, 2020 | 12 to 1:30 p.m. | Via Zoom

Learn the lifelong health benefits, how to help Moms overcome difficulties getting started and gain cultural perspectives on the importance of breastfeeding.

Speakers: Ann Oswood, Nurse Midwife, Lactation Consultant & Foua Choua Khang, CHW

The Real World of Breastfeeding

August 3, 2020 | 12 to 1:30 p.m. | Via Zoom

The role of breastfeeding in families and culture, breastfeeding and mental health and during emergencies, the role of the CHW in empowering women to breastfeed.

Speakers: Dr. LaVonne Moore, Nurse Midwife, Lactation Consultant; Shashana Craft, Indigenous breastfeeding counselor, Mental Health Home Visitor; Foua Choua Khang, CHW

Breastfeeding and Getting Back to Work or School

August 24, 2020 | 12 to 1:30 p.m. | Via Zoom

What does it take to breastfeed while returning to work or school? How do CHWs empower women to advocate for themselves to continue breastfeeding? Pumping and equipment how tos. Cultural perspectives and resources.

Speakers: Ann Oswood, Nurse Midwife, Lactation Consultant & LaSherion McDonald, CHW

To register email

Certificates of Completion are available for CHWs.

George Floyd Mural outside Cup Foods

CHW Leadership Reflected Through a Leadership Program Session

Who CHWs Are and Why They Bring So Much Value to Healthcare and the World 

Last Thursday, May 28th, CHW Foua Choua Khang facilitated a session on the topic of policy work at the Alliance’s CHW Leadership Development Program. Foua is a CHW Program Director at Hmong American Partnership and a strong CHW leader. 

Foua started with a moment of silence and reflection on the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. She then asked the multiracial, multiethnic group of 16 CHWs from across the state if anyone wanted to share feelings and thoughts related to the event.

Justice for George Floyd as well as the need to address racism and commitment to the diverse communities they serve were themes that threaded through the personal stories and heartfelt comments that followed.

One CHW shared that her child is good friends with one of the witnesses to the crime and this has consumed their life since the incident happened. So many emotions! CHWs discussed the need to prepare their children for how to act in situations they should not have to face; how it robs them of innocence.

Another CHW shared the perspective that the tragedy is widespread. She said, “None of those officers went to work that morning thinking they were going to kill someone. They all have families. They have kids that are looking at them wondering about this. They have parents they have to tell about this. It is not one family – it is five families who will be living with this. What they did is not right. They hurt their families and communities as well as Floyd, his family and community.”

The CHW participants thanked Foua for recognizing the elephant in the (Zoom) room, giving them space to talk about it and connect on an issue that impacts them and the communities they serve.

It was a demonstration of CHW character: compassion; a comprehensive view; amplifying voices directly connected to the community that serves as ground zero in this most recent tragedy.

The class moved on with an exercise in negotiation and policy. “The point is to win,” Foua emphasized as she gave instructions and the class broke up into small groups. When the CHW’s returned together to describe how they had “won” in their given scenario, it turned out that every group’s focus was on the common good. To each group, “winning” meant examining ways to help the most people without abandoning the rest. It became a shared mission, and everyone was considered valuable. They thought about future generations and the ways their hypothetical response would be impactful for years to come. They looked for ways everyone could win.

This is not because they are in a leadership class. This is because they are CHWs.

CHWs view the world through a lens of compassion, trust, community, ethics, and win-win solutions. They consider the here and now, and the generations of people who will come after us. This is what we mean when we speak of the “CHW Character.”

These are the leaders we need. 

State and National CHW Programs Respond to COVID-19

Essentia Health, Ely Clinic, Ely, MN
Heidi Favet, CHW Certificate Holder
Care Team Leader
Our work continues to focus on mental health and social determinants of health. (SDoH).  We had been working towards a community promotion of our services in May but accelerated that effort with a news release that was printed in area newspapers and sent to the radio station several weeks ago. We also sent and they printed the COVID-19 information page we have been providing to professionals and community members.  Next, we are discussing adding shelter in place and hygiene information to all our calls. Our CHWs switched to all phone contact (not billable) while working from home beginning in mid-March.
Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association (IMAA), Rochester, MN
Tara Nelson, CHW Certificate Holder
CHW Program Manager
This has been a time for CHWs to shine and show the adaptability and versatility of the work we do and how we do it.  We have made some very important changes and we are learning how to work through technology very quickly.  Each CHW takes their temperature twice daily to maintain health.
With the spread of this virus not yet at its peak, Mayo needed to discharge patients quickly to make room for expected incoming patient needs.  This also meant losing CHW landing spots in the hospital in Rochester, Kasson, Austin and Albert Lea.  My entire team is working remotely, and all members have been equipped with laptops and cell phones.  Each CHW is reaching out to all of our active referrals a few times a week to check in on them and try to quell fear, while also offering correct COVID-19 safety strategies and ensuring they have access to food, insurance, medicine, therapies, and more.  We started a database for all IMAA staff to track the contacts to our patients and other community individuals. In a 24-hour period, more than 120 clients were called.  These calls were made by staff who spoke the language needed.
As CHWs are calling the patients we serve, we ask a few questions, such as:
1.      How are you feeling today?
2.      Remind them to take their temperature 2 times per day.
3.      Is any member of your household feeling ill?
4.      Remind them that if anyone develops a fever of 100.4 or higher to call the nurse triage line.We then walk them through the language service access line.  If they need testing, we remind them of the sites that are open for this and tell them not to go to the ED unless they are very ill or if they are directed to do so from the nurse triage line.
5.      We ask them to set goals and encourage them to try and get a bit of fresh air in their own yards.
We have also partnered with another non-profit to reach some community individuals that are not current referrals to help with calling families that are identified in their programming.  Many of these individuals are not fluent English speakers and have some barriers to resources and understanding.
All of the CHWs are considered contractors with Mayo and have access to Mayo email and this is how we share pertinent information with our care team leads.
All meetings are held by videoconferencing through Teams and this has worked beautifully.  We check in daily and it is nice to see faces! 
In addition, we have two new CHWs coming on board Wednesday, April 1, so we still continue to grow!  We will complete all orientation through Teams.  MNsure calls are still coming in strong and we can handle all enrollments and applications through MNsure’s Assister Portal program as Certified Navigators.
Penn Center for CHWs, Philadephia, PA
Shreya Kangovi, MD, MS
Founding Executive Director
We are mobilizing our national network of IMPaCT community health workers to act as social first responders who will support patients with issues like unemployment, social isolation and food insecurity while also reinforcing public health messaging for COVID prevention. 
Penn is home to a national center of excellence that developed the IMPaCT CHW model which has been proven in clinical trials and replicated nationally. We have served over 10,000 Penn patients over the past decade.  During this time of crisis, we are working with organizations across 20 states to disseminate our offer of expanded social support by trained CHWs via tele-health.