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Profile of CHAPS CHW Training Program Applicants and Participants

September 27, 2023

The Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration to fund a project to address workforce shortages in certified mental health and addiction treatment agencies in Appalachian Ohio. The Community Health and Peer Support (CHAPS) project provides training to expand the number of community health workers (CHWs) and peer support specialists serving individuals and families who have been impacted by opioid use disorder and other challenges in Southeast Ohio. Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service was enlisted to provide technical assistance for the project.

Information provided by applicants and participants in the CHAPS Community Health Worker Training Program via online surveys from January 2021- January 2023 was analyzed to identify the demographic profile of the community health workers, their experiences, and perceptions of the Appalachian region. Key findings include:

  • The majority of applicants (53%) had earned a college degree.
  • Of the applicants with college degrees, 84 percent had an educational background in a “helping” field.
  • Although the majority of applicants were from Southeast Ohio, the program attracted applicants from across all regions of Ohio and even out-of-state.
  • The majority of CHWs have experienced economic, environmental, and/or educational disadvantages.
  • Participants’ responses to open-ended questions revealed a strong awareness of the challenges facing clients in the Appalachian region, including the social determinants of health that affect their health, functioning, and quality of life.

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