Once the CHW Definition and Scope of Practice were established, (the topic of a previous blog) a survey of CHWs, employers, state agencies, health plans, and other stakeholders was completed. It revealed that CHWs wanted a standardized set of core competencies and a way into higher education and health care careers. Employers wanted a set of core competencies and a credential. They liked the idea of higher education and advancement into health care careers for CHWS, in part because they recognized a need to diversify health care providers to better reflect the population. Both CHWs and employers wanted to stop the unsustainable cycle of hiring for a grant and job loss when the funding ended. Both also noted that when CHWs were hired under a specific funding stream like tobacco cessation or diabetes management, they had to go through repetitive training which was time-consuming. A set of core competencies was needed that could serve CHWs and their employers across funding silos. Health plans also wanted a set of core competencies and a credential.
The core competencies were developed based on the CHW Definition and the CHW Scope of Practice. The curriculum was then designed around the core competencies. It is important to note that 10 years later when the national CHW Core Competency (C3) Project reviewed and analyzed CHW curriculums across the country for core competencies, skills, and roles, Minnesota’s curriculum covered all those identified as necessary. Minnesota’s curriculum may well have stood the test of time because CHWs and stakeholders were so involved in its development. Here is another interesting fact: the Minnesota CHW Curriculum has been purchased by organizations and is in use in 18 other states.