Recovery and Essential Workers Series: Direct Care and Community Health Workers

Recovery and Essential Workers Series: Direct Care and Community Health Workers

Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 1:30 - 3:00 PM

Please join MPN for the first in a two-part series on Recovery and Essential Workers. This program will focus on direct care workers in Maryland’s health care sector. 

Community Health Workers, Home Health Aides, Personal Care Attendants, and Nursing Assistants are among the direct care workers on the front lines of the Pandemic. COVID-19 spotlighted both an incentive towards accelerating delivery of care directly in communities and the inequities experienced by direct care and community health workers.  With the surge of residents discharging from congregate care settings with the help of their families, there is an expanded demand for direct care and community health workers. 

These caregivers, who are primarily women of color, play an essential role in ensuring that the most vulnerable members of our communities receive high quality essential health services. But the sector is plagued by low wages and a lack of professional development opportunities or respect for the difficult work. Many Direct Care and Community Health Workers are women heads of household who have to take on several positions to sustain livability and economic security. Most qualify for the same subsidy programs that are offered to those in their care to address the social determinants of health.

During this program, we will have a discussion with David Rodwin of the Public Justice Center and the Maryland Regional Direct Services Collaborative, Dr. Chidinma Ibe, of the Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health. We will learn from our speakers how we can support, advocate, and sustain community health worker and direct home care programs to meet the increasing need to change the delivery of healthcare from institution-based to community. 

Mr. Rodwin will talk about work to change the public policies and employer practices that impact and constrain job quality in the direct care sector. He will discuss how funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), combined with action by the Maryland State Legislature and innovation at the employer level can begin to remedy some of issues of workplace justice in this sector. 

Dr. Ibe, author of a new Abell Report entitled Advancing and Sustaining the Community Health Worker Workforce in Baltimore, will discuss the role of Community Health Workers in mitigating social determinants of health and addressing racial inequities in public health. She will review the challenges to and opportunities for scaling up Community Health Worker programs in Maryland and will share a strategic roadmap for supporting the long-term financial viability of the Community Health Worker model in Maryland.