What We Are
The Community Health Worker (CHW) Certification Program specializing in Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders (OSUDS) project is a joint effort between the University of North Texas College of Health & Public Service, University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC), and the surrounding DFW/North Texas community. The purpose of CHW-OSUDS is to address the shortage of healthcare workforce in DFW— especially in underserved communities-- by providing an online curriculum and an optional apprenticeship to participants.
In addition to UNT students, the program is looking for CHWs without credentials who have been in treatment/recovery for substance use themselves who can work toward their Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) credential without having to earn a degree.
This innovative program is structured with three integral components, each designed to meet distinct needs of aspiring and practicing Community Health Workers (CHWs):
- Establish and expand an internship-based Community Health Worker Certification Program (they will seek state certification) from the existing addiction studies and social work courses, and provide stipends to offset expenses that would prevent success in training.
- Establish and expand a Community Health Worker Apprenticeship Program that will be registered with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and provide job placement services and on-the-job training to new CHW-substance use disorder workers.
- Develop a new Community Health Worker Continuing Education Training Site for the CHW workforce.
In sum, the Community Health Worker Program, through its tripartite structure, aims to produce, support, and enhance the caliber of Community Health Workers, ensuring they are well-equipped to serve communities effectively.
What is a Community Health Worker?
A Community Health Worker (CHW), or Promotor(a) de salud, is a public health worker who acts as a community representative or liaison. They are a trusted member of the community they are serving, and they have a unique and exceptional understanding of that community, including ethnicity, language, lived experiences, and socio-economic status.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Community health workers act as intermediaries between their clients and providers of healthcare and social services. They identify health-related issues, collect data, and discuss clients’ health concerns within the community. For example, community health workers might identify barriers preventing clients from access to transportation and provide referrals to resources that provide it.
Employment of community health workers is projected to grow 14 percent through 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. Here's a look at current wages for CHWs in Texas.
Be at least 18 years old
Able to fluently read/write/speak English
Desire to work in the area of substance use
Desire to work in the Behavioral Health Workforce
Be willing to commit to training and task throughout the program
Must be a resident of the United States
Be either a UNT undergraduate/graduate student OR a CHW seeking further credentials
More information coming soon.