By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson
The Birmingham Times
Trinita Ashford knows about balance. The mother of seven has served as executive director of ConnectionHealth, a community-based organization that has recruited, trained, employed and deployed community health workers (CHWs) since 2021.
CHW is just a fancy term for what people do naturally, said Ashford: “A lot of people are CHWs, and they don’t even realize it.”
“You may have a neighbor that is always trying to help the neighbor next door with resources—it could be that neighbor that needs help getting transportation, getting to the hospital, or getting to a clinical appointment. … That’s something a CHW would do,” she explained.
CHWs play a pivotal role in improving health outcomes “by bridging the gaps in health care access and promoting health literacy within underserved communities,” Ashford said. “They [have a] unique ability to establish trust, provide culturally sensitive care, and navigate social determinants of health, contributing to reducing health disparities—and that is a big thing in our communities.”
At ConnectionHealth, located on Magnolia Avenue on Birmingham’s Southside, Ashford manages a staff of more than 20, in addition to contract workers. The organization, which has so far trained 185 CHWs, has partnerships with the...