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AUGUST 2019 MNCHWA Community Health Worker Spotlight

Maile (My-Lee) Vang

Community Health Worker-Program Assistant, Minnesota Community Care

What do you do as a CHW?

What I do as a community health worker is a work to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the people I serve in the community. Most notably, I focus on outreach, education, counseling, and social support to help out the community, and by boosting the communication between the health care facilities in the area identifying the different health-related issues that exist.

I get to assist in developing tools, strategies, and resources that can help with those problems. Therefore, I coordinate and partner with community agencies and health experts in the area to improve the health and well-being of a community. Helping families understand and improve their access to insurance, food, health care, and even housing stability.

What has been your favorite part of being a CHW?

My favorite part of being a community health worker has got to conducting health and social services outreach. I like to meet new people in community and community agencies. I love to strike up a conversation to learn about how much the people in the community get involved and currently hear what other agencies are doing to bring a positive impact. To me, that’s the beginning of a great day already because at the end of the day. I get to take back smiles, laughter, information, resources, and friendship.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I love watching horror movies! Yes, I get scared too, and sometimes I tend to overdo it, but for some reason, I like a good scare. Whether its broad daylight or taking a lunch break, you might catch me watching a scary movie.  

IMPACTFUL CHW WORK

I have had the honor to work and volunteer with the Hmong Health Care Professional Coalition (HHCPC) during the past year to talk about Influenza immunization. One of the most concerns with families is getting their children flu shots for the cold season. I encounter a Karen family trying to get flu shots, but they have many doubts about it because a family relative has passed away from it. I was prepared for situations like this to happen, so I had to sit the family down and speak to them about things that can be helpful if the family was vaccinated.

I provided visuals of families getting vaccinated and before/after to see how they look and feel. I showed the family myself getting a flu shot from the nurses because they take excellent care of patients. I explained that influenza could be prevented by washing hands when coughing or sneezing. Towards not to share too many things when someone else is sick or not feeling well. I gave the family apowerpoint translated into Karen along with brochures and visuals of how the parents can teach the children how to prevent influenza.

The family even saw other families coming in and out getting the flu shot. Sadly, I wasn’t able to win the family over. The family couldn’t make a decision and left with the information about a week later, I had another flu vaccination event I attended. I was helping families fill out paperwork and educating on what the vaccine does. I turned around and saw the Karen family sitting at the tables and filling out the forms. I walked up to them just talking, letting them know how glad I am to see them. I was also happy that they understand how important it is to get the flu vaccination. I went over to see the information with them again and sat there to make them feel comfortable knowing that this is a welcoming environment. In the end, the family received their flu shot, and I continued assisting families in getting their flu shots.

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