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KCC receives $1.29M grant for community health worker training

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Kapiʻolani Community College
Kapiʻolani Community College

Kapiʻolani Community College will receive over $1 million for its community health worker training program.

The grant is part of an $11.3 million award to the UH system from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Students who graduate from the 16-credit program receive a Certificate of Competence degree to work in health outreach.

The pandemic moved the training program completely online — but this increased the number of students enrolled in the program from 10 students a year to over 100.

"The most important thing for a community health worker to be is trusted by the community. So what we're teaching folks in the community health worker training program is to learn to be that bridge," said program coordinator Joey Dewater.

"We teach a lot about cultural humility, showing up for folks and helping them learn how to advocate for themselves, helping them learn how to access services. And community health workers can show up anywhere from health centers to neighborhoods to parts of research teams, they may work in hospital systems or for insurance companies," Dewater said.

The grant will expand the program’s outreach to areas with high social vulnerability and the neighbor islands including Waiʻanae, Kalihi and Lānaʻi.

The program also plans to bring back alumni who are currently in the field. They will receive additional emergency medical technician training.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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