Resource for Navigating One of the Most Overlooked Kinds of Insurance

Travel Medical Insurance Worksheet for CHWsOne in eight travelers will be impacted by an unforeseen problem: medical treatment or evacuation, natural disasters, or other issues, but only 29% have travel insurance.

Even though community health workers are dedicated to helping patients choose the right health insurance, they often overlook travel insurance.This is important because most traditional health insurance doesn't cover emergencies when traveling.

Get a free copy of this special worksheet for community health workers, promotoras, peer leaders, patient navigators, health advocates, and nyone who wants to help patients choose the best travel insurance. It includes:

  • What is typically covered by health insurance policies, including Medicaid and Medicare, and what isn’t
  • A step-by-step worksheet that provides the most important questions to ask about coverage
  • Resources for buying travel medical insurance
  • Checklists for preparing for travel and in case of emergency

Request Your Free Toolkit

What Would You Like To Read on the CHWTraining Blog?

We are so excited that our blog viewership has grown so much! We want to keep up the trend by making sure that we’re creating content that you’ll find exciting, engaging, and most importantly, useful.

We’d love to get your feedback on the topics that you care about and want to see more of on the CHWTraining blog. Please take a moment to respond to our short poll to tell us more about your priorities and focus points. Use the survey below (click the Done button when you’re finished), or use this link to take the survey.


The CHWTraining editors

5 Best Asthma Education Resources

It’s Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, so time to refocus your education efforts for children, their parents and caregivers, and the elderly. These are some of the best resources, asthma education handouts, we’ve found for building asthma training programs and educating patients about controlling asthma and alergy attacks and triggers and managing life with the disease.

Asthma Awareness Month Event Planning Kit

Asthma Awareness Month Event Planning Kit

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed this event planning kit to equip state and local asthma programs to hold community-based asthma awareness and action events during Asthma Awareness Month. It includes ideas and tips for planning and running community asthma events in schools, hospitals, clinics, and state capitals.

Download the Asthma Awareness Month Event Planning Kit.

Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit

Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit

The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI) from the American Lung Association is an approach to asthma management in schools. The initiative’s toolkit helps school-based programs create a long-term asthma management plan. The toolkit provides step-by-step guidance that covers tips and strategies for master planning, maximizing school services, building asthma education, providing a healthy school environment, managing physical education and activity, and additional tools and resources.

Go to the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit.

Asthma Learning Track

CHWTraining Asthma Learning Track

CHWTraining’s Asthma Learning Track consists of three one-week, Web-based courses on the basics of asthma, health literacy, and tobacco cessation. The comprehensive internet course provides health education teams with practical instruction in effectively using evidence-based methods to improve the lives of people with asthma through achievable changes. The basics in improving health literacy will help your team better communicate with patients and family members. A focused module on tobacco cessation will give participants tools and strategies they can use to reduce a serious irritant and cause of disease.

Go to CHWTraining’s Asthma Learning Track.

Preparing For Tests

Preparing For Tests

National Jewish Health has a collection of information sheets to help patients prepare for asthma tests for checking for conditions such as bronchitis, emphysema. The downloadable documents cover such topics as what medications to withhold, when to stop eating, and what to expect during the tests.

Download the information sheets:


Sesame Street A is for Asthma

Sesame Street A is for Asthma

A is also for “adorable” with Sesame Workshop’s project Sesame Street A is for Asthma. The education website is designed specifically for children with asthma who want to “lead fun and active lives.” The resources show children with asthma what to do when they have trouble breathing and explain to adult caregivers how to help, including instructions on how to use inhalers, and how to avoid food allergens.

Go to Sesame Street A is for Asthma.

Make the Case for CHWs: 7 Return on Investment Studies

Making the case for community health workers is an uphill battle — but it is always worth the effort.

You’ve seen the data: a University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine report is one of many that show how the CHW model can reduce admissions and lead to better health outcomes for hospitalized patients and outpatient settings.

Unfortunately, too many organizations still find it difficult to make the business case for hiring, using and training community health workers. They offer excuses about the expense, or they vastly underuse their existing CHWs.

Convincing decision-makers to deploy groups of frontline health workers may not be easy, but hopefully this round-up of return on investment studies will put you a small step forward. It’s a collection of some of the best ROI studies I’ve seen on why to hire and educate people working in the CHW role.


More Soldiers in the Battle Against Tobacco

By Monique I. Cuvelier

The fight against smoking, chewing, and vaping just became a little fiercer.

From April 4-10, front-line health workers refined their health education skills via the online course Supporting Tobacco Cessation.

The course was sponsored by CHWTraining, a health care-focused division of Boston-based educational company Talance, Inc., and was produced in observance of National Public Health Week and offered at no charge. The weeklong, interactive course was facilitated by tobacco-cessation health educator Mary Etna Haac. She guided participants through practical tips and strategies they can use in their efforts to help more people quit or reduce using tobacco.

National Public Health Week logo

“[Supporting Tobacco Cessation was] very interesting,” said participant Ana Rubiano, a certified community health worker in an agricultural region of Florida who helps patients control diabetes, cancer, obesity, and other chronic illnesses and preventable diseases. “It let me learn new things to help the community. The facilitator’s communication was so good.”

Topics included a look at the biology of addiction, types of tobacco products, and the health effects of using tobacco. The program also provides common barriers to stopping and how to address those barriers through such methodologies as Stages of Change, the 5 R’s (Relevance, Risks, Rewards, Roadblocks, and Repetition), and the 5 A’s (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange). Students were given a chance to try out their new skills in interactive activities and through forum discussions with Haac and other participants.

Tobacco Case Studies screenshot

An important part of the course is the Quit Day Action Kit, a set of handouts, resources, and tools that participants take with them to use with clients and patients. It includes methods to cope with triggers and withdrawal symptoms, journals and worksheets for planning for Quit Day, and tips on how to cope with stress, slips, and relapses. The kit combines with the Tobacco Cessation Toolbox, which contains additional local resources to use on the job.

The online class, which hosted approximately 20 individuals from states including California, Maryland, Nevada, and more, is part of a catalog of courses from CHWTraining that focus on providing essential skills in changing community health outcomes. Students ranged from community health workers and case managers to registered nurses and health educators.

[This article is for publication in The Nation’s Health from APHA.]

Tobacco Cessation Barriers Flashcards

The line between using and quitting tobacco can be so narrow. Many barriers prevent people from conquering their addictions. They include anything from a high-stress environment and a simple lack of support.

Understanding and addressing tobacco cessation barriers is vital for any effective intervention, but with so many variables, it’s hard to keep track. We wanted to find a simple way to remind staff and volunteers about common barriers and the best ways to respond, so we created these Addressing Tobacco Cessation Barriers flashcards. We made these printable cards free for your team.

CHWTraining Tobacco Cessation Barriers flashcards

The cards include tips on how to address tobacco cessation barriers including:

  • Social factors
  • Stress
  • Lack of support
  • Mental health
  • Fear of failure
  • Competing priorities

Download Tobacco Cessation Barriers Cards

Let others know that these cards are available!

Patient Navigator/Community Health Worker Conference, May 12, Norwood, MA

Our friends at have just announced its annual conference is open for registration.

I’m excited about this, as I am every year, because it brings together all kinds of people who work in this area of public health. Every year it’s gotten bigger, no wonder.

It’s also incredibly affordable: $25 for CHWs, students, and patient navigators and $40 for general admission. If your pockets aren’t that deep, they give scholarships. It’s worth attending even if you’re not in Massachusetts.


Preparing the Workforce: The 7th Annual Patient Navigator/Community Health Worker Conference

Thursday, May 12, 2016
Four Points by Sheraton Norwood
1125 Boston-Providence Turnpike (Route 1), Norwood, MA


You are cordially invited to Preparing the Workforce: The 7th Annual Patient Navigator/Community Health Worker Conference on May 12, 2016. In the last few years, we have watched community health workers (CHWs) and patient navigators (PNs) become a vital part of today’s healthcare system. In this 7th annual conference, we will focus our attention on the development of the CHW and PN workforce. The conference offers interactive skills-based learning in a variety of topics through breakout sessions, networking, and resource and poster sessions. This invitation is extended to PNs, CHWs, supervisors, and those involved in developing PN programs throughout Massachusetts and other parts of the country. Come join us for this exciting conference designed by and for PNs and CHWs!

Dr. Alex Green will be joining us as our keynote speaker. Dr. Green is the Associate Director at the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. He has authored articles on topics including cross-cultural education, culturally competent healthcare systems, and language barriers and interpreters. Dr. Green speaks nationally on improving cross-cultural communication and providing effective care to patients from diverse sociocultural backgrounds. 

In addition to the keynote by Dr. Green, this year’s conference features 15 breakout sessions to choose from. Visit the website for more information and to view the preliminary program

Registration Rates:
General Admittance – $40
PNs/CHWs/Students – $25
Vendors – $100 (table only); $125 (table + conference attendance)
Payments are accepted by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Amex).  To apply for a scholarship, please fill out this application by April 14.

Registration will close on Friday, April 22.

Family Health History Initiative Starter Kit

Family Health History Initiative Starter KitUnderstanding and addressing the health history of a client is the best way of knowing what kind of treatment he or she needs. Digging a little deeper into family health history is even better, especially as part of National Cancer Prevention Month. Your health staff can recommend screenings and referrals based on what kind of conditions patients are genetically predisposed to.

Gathering family health histories can easily be added to any at-home or in-clinic visit. Your staff can fill in a form based on patient responses, or they can give them a worksheet to complete at home.

We’ve made it even easier by creating a Family Health History Initiative Starter Kit, a free collection of resources and worksheets to simplify the process at your organization. This download will give your team everything it needs to help clients build a health family tree.

The starter kit includes:

  1. Instructions on how to take personal and family health histories
  2. Talking-point tip sheet for gathering health histories
  3. Health history form for individuals and their family members
  4. Additional digital resources


Download the Health History Kit

Food for Thought

A container of yogurt six months past its “expiration date” might be one of the oldest things I’ve eaten. Then again, that piece of cheddar, carefully pruned of mold, I had last week might have been older. My husband will tell you with a cringe that I’m much more likely to excavate something from the back of the fridge, give it a sniff, and decide to eat it only if the smell doesn’t knock me out.

“Better By,” but Still Good

I don’t give much weight to meaningless dates. All you need to do is look at the inconsistency of these labels to know how little they mean: “Best Before,” “Sell By,” “Use By,” “EXP,” or my favorite, “Enjoy By.” These ambiguous terms are not a reliable indication of how long food will keep, but they do mean that 90 percent of consumers say they toss food because of safety concerns.

The truth is that these dates are really a “best guess.” Most are invented by food manufacturers, many of which are small companies that don’t have the means to conduct food-longevity studies. They pick a date, maybe based on some knowledge (but maybe not), and slap it on the package.

Better by, but still good after

No Food Date Regulation

They do this because the U.S. government doesn’t regulate expiration dates on anything but infant formula, although the Department of Agriculture admits that dates aren’t a guide for safe use of a product. But why would anyone know to ignore the date on the package? Most reasonable people would read an expiration date on food the way they would the expiration date on a coupon. The upshot is that stores and consumers throw food away on a mass scale, contributing to the estimated 40 percent of food that goes uneaten in the United States.

Look at Montana’s strict milk policy, which says that stores need to remove milk from shelves – and dump rather than donate it – just 12 days after pasteurization. Most milk producers recognize that milk is good for three weeks after pasteurization, and most people who drink milk know that it’s still good for a while after that, as long as it’s not left on the counter for too long.

Never mind the miserable thought of all that milk going into the sewer; milk in Montana is significantly more expensive, as much as dollar or two more per gallon than in neighboring states. That’s a shame, given that people are hungry – one in seven Americans, according to the USDA. Food is expensive enough as it is, without people and stores throwing away perfectly edible items because of a meaningless date.

Grassroots Grocery Efforts

Thankfully, there are a few efforts to avoid this kind of waste, notably Daily Table, a nonprofit that sells “expired” groceries to people in Dorchester, Mass. Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, decided to do something about all the food he saw going into dumpsters. So, in 2014, he started rescuing groceries and selling them at a reduced price.

Sustainable America is another organization that’s pushing for better education about the longevity of food, especially via its consumer-focused I Value Food website. It includes tips like how to use extra garden vegetables, how to host a “salvaged dinner party,” and resources like the Produce Storage Cheat Sheet.

Efforts like these are a start, and with the lack of any reliable government guidelines, they’re about all we have to cut down on food waste and help more people eat right while reducing their grocery bills. Community health workers and other front line health workers have an important role to play here, both in connecting individuals to resources like those on IValueFood or stores like Daily Table, and also in educating people in how long food will actually last. Or, as my mom taught me, trust your nose. If it smells OK, it probably is.

Certificate in Diabetes and Prediabetes

Give your CHW and nonclinical staff a certificate in diabetes and prediabetes with a learning track. One month, key skills, success for your organization.

Get started now

Check It Out, Ohioans: Free Patient Navigator Course from Komen

Our friends at Susan G. Komen Columbus have announced a fantastic and free breast cancer training opportunity for clinical or community-based patient navigators. If you’re in Ohio, you can apply for this blended-learning program to “increase your patient needs assessment skills and learn about resources to help support patients through the continuum of care.” Read more below, and apply by Feb. 11:

Patient Navigator Course for Laypeople and Clinical Professionals

Komen Columbus is excited to announce we are accepting applications for a free course for community-based or clinical patient navigators interested in increasing their patient needs assessment skills and learning about resources to help support patients through the continuum of care. Though this training focuses on patient navigation after an abnormal screening result, it may be appropriate to build skills for navigation to screening as well.

The deadline to apply is February 11. The course will begin March 1st, and continue for 10 weeks. Twenty-two CNE credits are available through the Oncology Nursing Society.

Participants for the first training will be selected from submitted applications. Complete an application by Feb.11. There are the following requirements to participate:

  • Located in Ohio
  • Supervisor letter of recommendation and support
  • Baseline measurements submitted before course. Measurements will be collected upon applicant’s selection. For example, the number of patients with abnormal screening results who completed diagnostic testing.
  • Follow-up measurements
  • Participation in in two live webinar sessions
  • Completion of a module and quiz each week to move on to the next module

March 1, 10 am-noon: webinar course introduction and welcome module
Week 1: Organizational and Documentation Skills
Week 2: Disparities and Social Determinants of Health
Week 3: Assessment Skills
Week 4: Breast Continuum of Care Part 1
Week 5: Breast Continuum of Care Part 2
Week 6: Navigating Health Insurance
Week 7: Service Coordination
Week 8: Genetics
Week 9: Health Coaching and Motivational Interviewing
May 10, 10 am-12 pm: Live webinar course conclusion

Need Core Skills Training?

Involve your team in high-quality online education in health insurance, health literacy and motivational interviewing in the Core Skills Learning Track.

Request information now