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 the 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 workers and direct home care programs to meet the increasing need to change the delivery of healthcare from institution-based to the 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 the 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.


David Rodwin. Esq. an attorney in the Public Justice Center’s Workplace Justice Project. David represents home care and other low-wage workers in employment-related claims and works to establish a culture of compliance in a violation-ridden industry. He also does know-your-rights outreach to worker groups, advocates for state and local policies that improve job quality, and serves as Vice Chair of the Board for the Maryland Regional Direct Services Collaborative. Before joining the PJC in 2015, David clerked for Chief Judge Catherine C. Blake of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, spent a year in Guatemala studying Spanish and providing legal support to landless farmers, and clerked for Judge Andre M. Davis of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. David was a member of the inaugural class at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and graduated summa cum laude in 2012. Before law school, David worked for an anti-caste discrimination human rights organization in India, taught English in Japan, and biked across Cambodia. He is a 2005 graduate of Johns Hopkins University.






Headshot of Chidinma A. Ibe

Chidinma A. Ibe, PhD is an Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, with a joint appointment in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is the Associate Director of Stakeholder Engagement for the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity and has extensive experience developing, implementing, and evaluating community health worker programs in the metropolitan Baltimore area. Her program of research focuses on the role that community health workers play in promoting health equity by mitigating the impact of social determinants of health among members of historically marginalized communities. An applied researcher, Dr. Ibe collaborates with patients, community members, and health system leaders to develop and evaluate community-based solutions for reducing hypertension disparities. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.