Telehealth Community Navigation Training Program

Community Health Workers – A Proven Model

The Promotors / Community Health Workers’ (P/CHW) model is a proven, effective means of educating and promoting healthy communities and addressing health disparities among at-risk groups. The integration of these trusted community members into local government programs is considered a viable means for advancing community resilience, preventive care, and wellness. Initiating in 2004, The Intercultural Center for Health, Research and Wellness (ICHRW) promotes culturally and linguistically appropriate health education and navigation for underserved communities via these P/CHWs. Additionally, the ICHRW utilizes P/CHWs to assist vulnerable populations in accessing quality healthcare, thereby improving overall outcomes in the communities.

COVID-19 -- Telehealth Community Navigation Program

When news spread of COVID-19 within the USA, the ICHRW (in collaboration with Dia de la Mujer Latina, inc) realized a need to start educating the P/CHWs so they could support their communities and more specifically, highlight the myths and rumors surrounding the pandemic which is interfering with people’s willingness to seek help. Program development began in January, was approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and the first training event took place on February 25, 2020.

Due to social distancing polices, the ICHRW adopted the concept of Telehealth Community Navigation (TCN) and how a properly scripted telephone call might reduce some of the loneliness, fear, and mistrust surrounding the pandemic. Telehealth Community Navigation is  way that a trusted member of the community, i.e. Promotores/Community Health Worker, can be trained to begin a conversation with someone who may be in need of education and navigation services, whether for physical or behavioral health, whenever needed and wherever the person is, by using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

​The ICHRW believes this can also serve as a framework for other racial/ethnic groups by tailoring the training to their respective communities, thereby preparing them for a “new normal using telehealth.”

First Level Training – The ICHRW Body, Mind and Spirit Connection

The ICHRW’s role in the bilingual Telehealth Community Navigation Training Program begins
with an understanding of the current landscape of our public health system. It explores the
disconnect between at-risk communities and how the system fails to address the cultural
barriers that continues to impact negatively upon many of our communities of color. This is the
first in a three-part training series.

The ICHRW first level training covers:

Once trained on ethics and the restrictions outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the ICHRW contracted Promotores/CHWs to begin scripted telephone calls to thousands of community members. Using the body (how are they feeling), mind (what do they know about COVID 19), and spirit (would they like for us to end the call with a prayer) connection method we found the results compelling.

Out of the first 1,300 calls, only 19 people had been tested and most others stated they would never agree to it due to the distrust of officials and government. It became clear that some populations were being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, so we modified our approach with the purpose of addressing the racial/ethnic disparities and health inequities worsened by the COVID-19 crisis.

Second and Third Phase Training

The second phase of training focused on Telebehavioral health (i.e. anxiety, depression, stress and stigma) and was launched in the first week of June 2020.

The final training module focused on Dispelling Myths, Rumors and Misinformation regarding Vaccines.