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Community Health Workers Find Health Information Resources Online

Submitted by Seth Doyle, Migrant Health Coordinator, Northwest Regional Primary Care Association

Northwest Regional Primary Care Association (NWRPCA) recently completed a Community Health Worker Outreach and Training Program through the support of a 2010 NN/LM Express Outreach Award. The goal of the training program was to increase community health workers’ familiarity, understanding and use of credible and culturally/linguistically appropriate online health resources. In order to accomplish the goal, NWRPCA collaborated with Health Outreach Partners (HOP) – a national non-profit organization specializing in promoting grassroots health models – in develop a curriculum titled “Navigating Online Health Resources.”  All curriculum materials were developed in Spanish and the training itself was facilitated in Spanish. The focus of the training was on finding appropriate health information resources online and using them effectively. Participants reviewed several websites, including MedlinePlus and ToxTown, and later engaged in activities and discussion to analyze practical application of these resources.

Trainings were held in Portland, Oregon and Leavenworth, Washigton. NWRPCA collaborated with the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers in planning the logistics and marketing the trainings. A total of 24 Community Health Workers attended the trainings. Participants hailed from 13 different counties in Washington and Oregon and represented a number of different agencies, including community health centers, county public health departments and other community-based organizations.

Although participation was lower than expected, evaluation results from the two trainings indicate that the program was successful. Participants were very excited to have learned about the Spanish-language resources available through the National Library of Medicine and have indicated that these resources have been (or will be) helpful to them in their work. NWRPCA plans to continue offering this training in conjunction with HOP and will also explore opportunities for offering it as a webinar.

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