Kettering College Community Health Workers Complete Program

April 25, 2024 — Kettering College’s second Community Health Worker cohort attended their completion ceremony to mark the end of their 15-week program and begin impactful work in their communities to eradicate healthcare barriers and connect people to resources.

A community health worker (CHW) is a healthcare worker who assists other healthcare professionals in the field to build trust within the community. They advocate for patients and are part educators, part social workers, and part nursing assistants.

Kettering College began the CHW training certificate program in 2023 with a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The intent was to create a frontline of entry-level healthcare workers who make personal connections within the community. The goal is to build trust and make healthcare, social services, and education accessible to avoid future illness.

The HRSA has designated Trotwood and Dayton as medically underserved communities, so the CHWs from Kettering College are from those communities. Johnjé Jasper (pictured above, far right), CHW program and data collection coordinator, says, Minority communities have a big distrust of the medical system, which is understandable; however, we have to figure out as a community how to teach people to be advocates for themselves to get the right care.” (Kettering College, 2023)

Tif Huber, MA, Keynote Speaker

The night’s keynote speaker was Tif Huber, Director of Help Me Grow Brighter Futures. She was once a CHW who went inside people’s homes, observed their environment, and connected them to resources and information to help them make vital changes to create better health.

She told the group what meaningful work they will do as CHWs. She said, “Connecting people to resources like a food pantry or making sure they weren’t worried about beds or shoes took that burden off people and changed their lives.”

Tif continued, “I’m not saying I was out there changing the world, but I actually sort of did. There were kids who stopped going to the emergency room every week like they were doing; parents who got jobs and then decided to go back to school; and parents who got out of abusive relationships because I was in their ear, constantly reminding them they had the power to make the difference in their own lives.”

She told the CHW graduates that their focus must be on preventing disease and arming the community with knowledge. She told them being a CHW means being a change agent. She said, “You possess the power to change lives simply by empowering them.”

Tif Huber ended her keynote address by reminding the graduates, “We live in a world where health disparities exist, and the work can be hard and overwhelming. Access to quality healthcare remains elusive for so many people, and in the face of these challenges, you have chosen to stand as beacons of hope in your community, advocates for change, and catalysts for progress.”

She reminded them to grow their empathy and truly listen and understand what people need and to “gain an understanding that health is not merely the absence of disease, but the state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing.” A CHW, she said, is “committed to ensuring that everybody—no matter where they live, what their circumstances are, who they love, what they look like, or what color they are—that they have the opportunity to obtain this unalienable human right.”

Congratulations, and thank you, to this group of 13 CHWs from Kettering College who will do this sacred work.


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