Community Education Group is excited to announce an opportunity for West Virginia residents to train to be Community Health Workers through its CHAMPS program, which aims to help reduce health disparities among underserved, higher-risk populations in West Virginia. 

The CHAMPS program will train 100 CHAMPS workers in four different areas of West Virginia, each centered around a “hub” county (Kanawha, Hardy, McDowell & Berkeley). Trained CHAMPS workers will then deliver health information, education, testing, and vaccines to residents throughout their assigned area. 


Background

Since 2004, the Community Education Group (CEG), a community based organization in the Washington DC & Appalachia area, has utilized (CHAMPS) program as a means to address the health needs of challenged the population.

Previous attempts to hire health care professionals in the area were not successful in engaging the population of disengaged groups in the community. In an effort to address the multiple intersecting health and social disparities plaguing the community, administrators began a program aimed to:

  • Recruit a motivated workforce who would be invested in the population.
  • Train novice health workers in tactics that were effective with the population.
  • Employ an efficient community health worker workforce that was also cost effective.
  • Reduce the rate of those with a criminal history that return back to the community with no employment.
  • Increase the number of HIV positive community members that are aware of their status and are adhering to a plan of care.
  • Reduce and ultimately eliminate new HIV/AIDS infections in the community through prevention, partnerships, and commitment.

CEG employed dozens of graduates of the CHAMPS training program in a variety of positions ranging from outreach worker, HIV/AIDS testers and counselors, linkage workers, and in-house testers. The testing, counseling, and linkage successes have been enormous and there are few in the community now that do not recognize the orange wheeled logo on CEG transport vehicles, mobile testing vans, and branded condoms as well as the familiar faces of CHAMPS workers.