Oregon is experiencing a widespread shortage of its health care workforce and an increasingly diverse population. The Urban League is working to build the workforce of Community Health Workers, and to more fully integrate them into health care teams to insure high-quality, culturally competent care to traditionally under-served populations within an integrated and coordinated health care system.
Community Health Workers (CHWs) are trusted community members who promote health in their own communities. CHWs bridge the gaps between communities and the health care and social service systems. CHWs make important contributions to preventing disease and promoting health, by increasing access to care, reducing health care costs, diversifying our workforce, and decreasing health inequities. CHWs provide culturally appropriate services to communities of color and other Oregonians experiencing health disparities, and advocate for policies that improve individual, community and population health.
Urban League CHWs are uniquely positioned to work with community members to identify and resolve their most pressing health issues and eliminate health inequities. In addition to providing health promotion and chronic disease management to its clients, the Urban League addresses the social determinants of health by connecting participants to its other social service programs, including job training and placement, housing consultation, financial education, senior services, substance abuse prevention programs, and civic engagement and community empowerment opportunities.
Nationally, the Urban League, in partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine, has developed a CHW model to promote healthy lifestyles and deliver services to African American adults. Rooted in a holistic approach to health, Urban League CHWs support clients in addressing a broad range of economic, social and psycho-social issues. Through this program, the Urban League has stabilized and improved individual and community health and well-being.
At the Urban League of Portland, our programs include the Warrior of Wellness, Community Education Workers, and Health Resiliency Program.