Miami CTSI

8th Annual Southeast Regional Symposium for Community Health Workers Gets ‘Excellent’ Reviews


Brendaly Rodriguez, Chair, South Florida Regional CHW, Director, Community Engagement and Cultural Diversity Program, Miami CTSI

South Florida community health workers and patient navigators gather every year for the Miami Dade Health Action Network Southeast Regional Symposium. This year marked the 8th annual symposium on May 15-16 at Bethesda Hospital West and Miami Dade College, Hialeah Campus.

The symposium provided an opportunity for community health workers (CHW) and patient navigators to get valuable training free of charge in both English and Spanish on various health topics such as motivational interviewing, poison control, cancer prevention, precision medicine, and self-care. Participants received information and updates regarding the State of Florida Community Health Worker Certification and had a chance to network with many representatives from hospitals, nursing homes, insurance companies, community organizations, program funders and health industry professionals. The multi-site format ensured the spectrum of populations and communities in the southeast region are served.

“Community health workers, also known as promotores de salud in Spanish, are an important part of a linguistic and culturally diverse healthcare workforce. Many organizations are recognizing this tremendous asset in addressing health disparities, connecting people with health and social services and advocating for healthier communities,” says Brendaly Rodriguez, the symposium’s organizer and Chair of the South Florida Regional CHW Workgroup.

The theme for 2018 was Bridging the Gap: The Role of Community Health Workers in Addressing Chronic Disease Burden and Advancing Health Equity. Most of the attendees came for educational and networking opportunities. Others were encouraged to come by a colleague or attended the symposium in the past. In addition to the material covered in the content-specific training sessions, the majority of participants rated the overall event as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. The two-day symposium had over 185 attendees combined, with numbers increasing every year.

The special guest speaker was Jamie R. Forrest, M.S., Acting Chief Administrator of the Epidemiology and Evaluation Program, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention. The event was co-sponsored by United Healthcare, Walgreens, the Miami-Dade Health Action Network, Arboles Familiares, Bethesda Hospital, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Quantum Foundation, Lake Okeechobee Rural Health Network, Inc., and the Miami Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

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