CHAMPS

CHAMPS – COMMUNITY HEALTH AND MOBILIZATION PREVENTION SERVICES

CHAMPS (Community Health and Mobilization Prevention Services) is the Community Education Group’s signature educational program, designed to train Community Health Workers (CHWs) throughout Appalachia.

In the intensive six-week training, CHAMPS delivers 147 hours of training that covers a range of topics, including core CHW skills, the basics of HIV/SUD/HCV, Mental Health First Aid, and Harm Reduction. CHAMPS trainees receive a stipend of $15/hour for the training and are awarded a certificate upon completion of the program. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are fully prepared to work as CHWs in their communities and can leverage their training experience and the professional network they’ve begun building through CHAMPS into full-time positions in health care, social services, and non-profit work.

In 2023, the CHAMPS program generated 185 graduates from 25 West Virginia counties, with an 89% graduation rate. Graduates distributed 10,000 COVID-19 tests and 15,000 Health Resource Kits in 24 WV counties, and helped to distribute 45,000 doses of Naloxone throughout Appalachia. In 2024, CEG was awarded grant funding to train an additional 1000 CHWs in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia over the next five years. Future aims include placement of CHWs in Opioid Treatment Programs and residential treatment facilities to provide HIV/HCV prevention services and linkage to care.

CHAMPS is made possible with support from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

For more information, please contact the CHAMPS team at champs@communityeducationgroup.org.

What is a CHW?

CHWs are frontline public health workers who use their trusted relationships with community members to facilitate access to health services for the regions they serve. CHWs serve as critical links to care, connecting individuals most often overlooked or underserved to the health resources they need.

Background

The CHAMPS program began in 2004 to train CHWs to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Washington, D.C.. Today, CHAMPS-trained CHWs still learn the necessary information and skills to help combat HIV/AIDS, but are also prepared to combat the syndemic, an even broader public health concern for West Virginia that is the result of HIV/AIDS, Substance Use Disorder, and viral hepatitis overlapping and amplifying one another. CHAMPS aims to:

  • Recruit a motivated workforce from within the community.
  • Train health workers in strategies that are effective in the community.
  • Deploy community health workers to address public health concerns through outreach, screening, prevention, partnerships, and referral to care.

Since CHAMPS began, these trained health workers have served their communities in vital public health roles, such as outreach worker, HIV/AIDS testers and counselors, and linkage workers.

For more information on the CHAMPS paid training program, please click here.

For organizations looking to hire Community Health Workers, please click here.