Resources and Training

Available Support 

The Alliance is available to support local, regional and state population health organizations and initiatives by providing nationally recognized experts in the following areas:

  • Research and Quality Improvement: Informatics and data analytics, original population research, evidence based strategies, program development and program evaluation
  • Health Education and Workforce Development: Job training, continuing education and enhanced access to certification programs and degrees, and support for economic development projects that increase healthcare access
  • Policy Analysis and Development: Evaluation of existing health policies, laws and rules as well as reference to national evidence-based policies and creation of new policy initiatives
  • Capacity Building: Community health planning, strategic and business planning, and coalition development training and maintenance

Project Teams

The Alliance tackles specific challenges by building a uniquely equipped team for each specific problem. We provide teams that consist of:

  • Nationally recognized researchers who will survey the population, analyze data from multiple datasets, interpret and present the results 
  • Experts who will develop evidence-based strategies and evaluate effectiveness 
  • Experienced strategic planners who will develop community health assessments and community health improvement plans as well as support local accreditation efforts 
  • Accomplished educators who will train and educate the population health workforce 
  • Advocates who will plan and build support for grants and local health-focused economic development projects improve access to quality healthcare

Training Resources

Introduction to Appalachian Health

Developing Cultural Competency and Humility

This series of training modules focuses on understanding the challenges practitioners, and other community members who provide health services, may face when working with rural and Appalachian residents. The recorded presentations emphasize the historical context of the region, and how it contributes to the Appalachian culture, as well as methods for understanding practitioners’ own bias towards rural and Appalachian cultures.

The goal is for those working in the community to see how their own background may contribute to barriers to service.

Helpful digital and print-friendly resource guides are also available to read and watch content on your own according to what you feel is most relevant.

Module 1: Overview & Defining Appalachia

Synopsis: Defining Appalachia has not always been an easy task. Many would argue about the appropriate definition of the region and the reasoning for making it so. Some would argue that there is no clear definition of the region and that using any of the conventional means is underselling the complexity of such a large region.

Module Objectives:

  • Describe why the Appalachian region is difficult to define
  • Learn the Appalachian Regional Commission's definition of Appalachia
  • Discuss health disparities in rural areas
  • Identify the reasons for increased strategies to reduce HCV/HIV rates

Begin Module 1 >> 

Module 2: History, Culture & Stereotypes

Synopsis: Appalachia has a long and varied history that cannot be recounted in full detail in this resource guide. However, it is important that those seeking to understand Appalachian people have some understanding of Appalachian history.

Module Objectives:

  • Explain how past historical events may contribute to current cultural characteristics
  • Identify Appalachian stereotypes and understand why they are harmful
  • Examine how cultural traits may impact interaction with Appalachian people

Begin Module 2 >>

Module 3: Barriers to Service - Cultural Competence & Humility

Synopsis: Common reasons why Appalachian people experience barriers to care can essentially be broken down into three main areas: Financial, Logistical, and Cultural.

Module Objectives:

  • List barriers that prevent Appalachian people from seeking healthcare and public services
  • Explain cultural competency and humility
  • Define the importance of developing cultural competency and humility

Begin Module 3 >>

Helpful Resources




Community Health Worker Training Program

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are trusted individuals who improve health within their own communities. They provide health services, increase access to care, and advocate for individuals and populations by serving as a voice among healthcare providers. CHWs foster communities to achieve health, equity, and social justice. They are able to represent their community members and describe the health, social, economic, political, and cultural issues that they face with authenticity and lived experience. This unique model not only builds trust with the people served, but also improves health outcomes. In Appalachian counties where access to healthcare services is limited and social determinants of health create additional barriers, CHWs are bridging the gap between community members and the services they need to live healthy lives.

CHWs complete 100 hours of didactic classroom content that is competency-based and designed for adult learners. Participants are then placed in a community setting to fulfill 130 hours in a field practicum. Participants earn eligibility for certification through the Ohio Board of Nursing. In 2020, the training curriculum was converted from an in-person format to an online hybrid format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding the reach and flexibility of the program.


Kerri Shaw, Community Health Worker Lead,

More Information


The Alliance strives to secure funding to decrease the barriers for individuals to participate so that those passionate about improving the health and wellness of their community are able to earn certification. We do this through grant funded stipends and collaborating with community partners around the state.

History and Examples

In 2015, Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program (MEDTAPP) funds were allocated to universities around Ohio to develop community health worker training programs and address a growing workforce need. Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) trained master trainers in southeast Ohio; Ohio University trained its first cohort in 2017, when it was certified by the Ohio Board of Nursing. Since its launch, participant numbers have grown steadily with each cohort offered. To date, trainees have been deployed to agencies and organizations serving 21 Appalachian counties in Ohio. 

Project Hoffnung provides outreach to Amish and Mennonite communities in Ohio and has long-used CHWs in its work providing breast health information, free mammography screening, and the support needed for any follow-up. In 2018, two women who had been working with Project Hoffnung became certified through Ohio University’s Community Health Worker training program. Both women had strong relationships within the Amish and Mennonite communities and were eager to enhance their knowledge and receive certification through the Ohio Board of Nursing.  

In 2019, Ohio University was awarded grant-funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to train and serve justice-involved women through the Community Health Worker program. Community members in recovery and/or re-entry, as well as those passionate about serving this population, were recruited to be trained and complete their field hours in agencies serving justice-involved women. The ARC cohorts, in addition to their generalist curriculum, received specialized training including Naloxone administration, opioid use in Appalachia, and motivational interviewing.

The Alliance anticipates growing its capacity to address the needs of additional specific populations with our community partners in the future.

In the News
COVID Response and Impact

On March 19, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security 
Agency issued a memorandum on identification of essential critical infrastructure workers during the 
COVID-19 pandemic. The memo included CHWs in the list of essential critical infrastructure workers 
who are imperative during the response to the COVID-19 emergency for both public health and safety 
as well as community well-being. CHWs have unique skills, connections and knowledge to address 
the current pandemic and are involved as critical members of the COVID-19 response around the 
country. They can serve as a link between community resources, healthcare professionals, and 
patients; develop educational materials and promote public health campaigns; support and enhance 
social services being offered by agencies and faith-based organizations; and apply their cultural 
humility and communication skills to work on contact tracing efforts. 

  • "The client was really hungry for support. Really wanted to jump in with both feet, on the diabetes self-care train...They are engaging in more cooking at home. They are less anxious about their new diagnosis and they actually have a goal to reverse it."
  • "I feel this sense of appreciation. A lot of us grew up in the area and I am glad to know that we are being valued and that research is being done about what is happening here."
  • "One of the highlights is the emphasis on community health worker geographic equity. Like the people who take those positions know their community. Most of the ones I've met, at least, they are an integral part of different kinds of community organizations, they are really involved with their family systems, or some kind of faith organization. They are engrained in their community. I think that is huge."
Resources for Community Health Workers


Greater Ohio Workforce Board Training

The Alliance is providing customized training to staff at OhioMeansJobs centers in 43 counties. Training topics are identified by the Greater Ohio Workforce Board (GOWB), and seminar-style courses are developed and facilitated by Alliance staff and contracted experts. Each seminar is 1.5 hours in duration and includes approximately 50-60 minutes of didactic instruction and 30-40 minutes of small group discussion and role play. In order to foster group discussion, attendance is limited to 32 participants per session, and each session has been offered ten times. Continuing education units for each seminar were provided for all participating social workers who completed both the seminar and related evaluation. Seminar topics include:

  • Building Trust and Rapport with Difficult to Serve Clients
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Matching Employment Strategies to Individuals’ Circumstances

Ohio University manages all registration, training, evaluation, and learning management system activities associated with this training series. GOWB circulates the registration fliers and provides consultation and feedback as necessary regarding content development and process improvement.


  • Tracy Plouck, Behavioral Health Lead,
  • Michal Searls, Program Coordinator,


Case Manager Certification Training

In collaboration with ProMedica and the University of Toledo, Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions and The Alliance have developed a five-course series to prepare prospective Case Managers for the Case Manager Certification Exam.

Subject matter experts developed relevant content related to each aspect of case management. Each course offers continuing education and certification preparation opportunities for nurses, social workers and licensed counselors.


Michal Searls, Director of Professional Programs and Partnerships,

Other Resources 

Ohio University offers continuing education for health professionals.

The following resources are supported by the Alliance:

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a 2018 Health Policy Briefing Book that includes data and strategies the next Ohio governor and General Assembly can use to develop evidence-informed policies that will improve the health of all Ohioans.