Ms. Julie Smithwick, founder and former executive director of PASOs, will lead a project that builds on the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health Community Health Worker Institute she launched in March of this year. With initial funding from the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, the Institute provides training and support for community health workers and the health and community organizations that employ and interact with these professionals.
“Community health workers work within their communities to connect individuals and families with resources, identify barriers, and provide solutions and ideas to improve the health and well-being of the entire community,” Ms. Smithwick says. “This model involves supporting leaders who are partnered with health and social service organizations, but who are more importantly rooted and vetted within the community itself.”
The Duke Endowment award will help further the Institute’s aims to provide entry-level training and field placement experience to community health workers and training for their supervisors. Ms. Smithwick and her team will also partner with the South Carolina Community Health Worker Association to recruit new community health workers and work with hospitals, health clinics, health departments and other organizations to develop and implement effective community health practices.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on July 12