Texas DSHS Funded CHW Programs

In July 2020, ST-AHEC created a COVID-19 workgroup consisting of community health workers (CHWs), public health and nursing staff, and other ST-AHEC staff from each of its centers in the South Texas region on the development of an Extensions for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) session. Project ECHO is a model developed by a team at the University of New Mexico. Our COVID-19 ECHO workgroup led to the development of an evidence-informed COVID-19 CHW ECHO program co-created by CHW’s and ST-AHEC staff focusing on four domains: 1) Introduction to COVID-19, 2) Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities, 3) Behavioral Health, and 4) Self-care. This program was funded through an HRSA supplemental grant that was obtained by the ST-AHEC Program Office.

As a result, the ST-AHEC Program is excited to participate in the Texas Department of State and Health Services (DSHS) CDC-funded Health Equity Grant to help reduce COVID-19 disparities, as well as to build community capacity within each of the ST-AHEC’s centers. It is important to note that within each of the five AHEC centers, CHWs have been included as key players in ST-AHEC’s programming efforts. In addition to implementing the CHW COVID-19 ECHO program, the ST-AHEC plans to increase capacity, workforce development, recognition, and value among CHWs in South Texas, as well as participating in cross-collaborating events between AHEC Centers and community partners related to COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

Programs and Projects

  • CHW-COVID-19 Health Equity Project ECHO
      • Using the Project ECHO model that was developed by the University of Mexico, the 14-week CHW-COVID-19 ECHO program is aimed at training CHWs in South Texas about COVID-19 prevention and preparation measures. Thus far, four English and two Spanish language CHW-COVID-19 Program ECHO programs have been completed. For more information about our Project ECHO, click here.


  • CHW Health Equity Workgroup
      • In this project, we follow up with CHWs from each of the COVID-19 Project ECHO programs and invite their group to participate in collaboratively developing a COVID-19/Health Equity Improvement project to provide to their neighborhood community. We incorporate Sara Haskie-Mendoza’s Xinachtli program, a healing program based on indigenous teachings. Our intention in incorporating the Xinachtli Program is to develop connections, share personal stories, and dismantle false histories by discovering the authentic stories of participants’ ancestors’ strengths and wisdom.


  • Red de Promotoras del Sur de Tejas Project
      • Similar to the CHW Health Equity Workgroups, this Spanish-language-only project provides DSHS CHW continuing education, support, and networking opportunities to CHWs and Promtoras who have completed our Spanish-language CHW-COVID-19 Health Equity Project ECHO.


  • Employment Skills Training for CHWs Project
      • The goal of this project is to increase the number of trained and certified CHWs obtaining employment post-certification. In this project, we will provide resources for employment (including networking, resume writing, and cover letter writing support) via skill-building workshops to CHWs in each of our South Texas AHEC Centers. We incorporate Sara Haskie-Mendoza’s Xinachtli program here as well.


  • Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Project
      • The IPV project started with providing training on IPV and COVID-19 to our CHWs in collaboration with Next Door Solutions. In addition, this project has the additional objective of mapping local resources and holding events for the purpose of making connections between IPV resources and community members.