Expanding the workforce capacity to meet the health care needs of a diverse community.
The health needs, concerns, beliefs and practices of members of Fairfax County vary among ethnic, cultural, religious and other community groups. Further, racial and ethnic minorities, especially those living at or near the poverty level, are more likely to have poorer health outcomes and die prematurely. Establishing a workforce to meet these diverse needs, and raising awareness of and addressing health disparities, is essential.
Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)
Health Workforce Goal: Have a health care workforce that is responsive to the health care needs of a diverse population.
Hiring and training a health workforce to address the linguistic and cultural needs of the community and minority groups is one way to address the health disparities that exist in Fairfax County.
The Health Workforce Team has achieved two of the of the three CHIP objectives:
- Objective 1: The Chronic Disease Self-Management Educational Program (CDSME) emphasizes the individual's role in managing his or her own illness and builds participants' health management knowledge and self-confidence to help ensure their success in adopting healthy behaviors. The CDSME is an evidenced-based model that uses curriculum developed by Stanford University. The Team developed a model that will enable Fairfax County to scale up and sustain the program in a way that is flexible and adaptable to any population. For more information about the program, send an email to CDSMP@fairfaxcounty.gov.
- Objective 2: The Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) provide an outline for health care organizations to service diverse communities. The CLAS survey, conducted for the Partnership by George Mason University (GMU) Center for Policy Research and Ethics, focused on workforce composition, cultural competency and communication access. Official findings demonstrate the need for improved awareness and implementation by providers of these standards. Unofficial findings indicate that changes in the health care environment have left providers and practice managers feeling burdened by the need to meet an increased number of mandates.
To find out more about Fairfax’s Health Workforce objectives and key actions, read the Live Healthy Fairfax Community Health Improvement Plan (pages 24-25).
See our progress detailed in the latest CHIP annual evaluation report.
What's Happening in the Community?
In response to the results of the GMU CLAS survey and within the overarching framework of the Partnership, the Health Workforce Team is developing a digital storytelling initiative and online resource sharing portal.
We focus on four key issues: (1) health equity, (2) communication access, (3) cultural competency, and (4) workforce development, and target four key audiences: (1) patients/community, (2) providers/practice managers, (3) educators and (4) policy makers. Each audience needs to be addressed.
Central to the portal will be digital stories, primarily from the patient/community and provider/practice manager populations, but not limited to those populations. The stories will be set in an explanatory framework and will put a human face on the data, presenting a range of first-person experiences. The stories and resources together will demonstrate ways in which providing culturally and linguistically appropriate care can make health care work better for everyone. Learn how the materials may be used to educate providers and policy makers and to inform and empower patients.
To join the Health Workforce Priority Issue Team, email us or call us at 703-246-8856, TTY 711.