CAC community health worker certificate program receives health innovation award

Kim Bentley accepts the health innovation award. (Submitted photo)

Empowerment Systems Inc. recently awarded the 2018 Health Innovation Award to Central Arizona College’s community health worker certificate program.

Kim Bentley, coordinator/instructional specialist for the program, accepted the award on behalf of the college.

“It is an honor to be given this award,” Ms. Bentley said. “Thank you to Empowerment Systems and to the Greater Valley Area Health Education Center for recognizing the importance of community health workers. The program’s success is because of the partnerships we have established through our Community/Public Health Advisory Board.”

The CHW certificate training program at CAC was developed utilizing national and state standards for CHW core competencies. Through collaborations with the local workforce, the Community/Public Health Advisory Board was developed. Individuals on the board include representatives from Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Greater Valley Area Health Education Center.

The CHW program provides the core competencies and skills students need for employment opportunities within the State of Arizona. Students are introduced to community and public health topics such as chronic disease management, health communication, health literacy, counseling and motivational interviewing, wellness and health advocacy. The program may be completed in one year through distance learning and includes a 90-hour internship which can be completed almost anywhere in the State of Arizona.

The CHW program was implemented in August 2016 and the first cohort of students graduated in August of 2017. Currently the second cohort of students is working towards the CHW certificate, and will graduate in August of this year.

Community Health Workers are a front-line public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has a close understanding of the community they serve. This relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison between health services and the community. A CHW builds health understanding and self-reliance in individuals within the community through a range of activities such as community outreach and education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.

For more information on the CAC community health worker certificate program, visit

Editor’s note: Angela Askey is CAC’s executive director of public relations and marketing.

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