What drew you into the CHW profession?
If I can be honest, I was in need of employment and saw an opening and thought that the position would be interesting. After my first three visits is when I began to realize the importance of CHWs in my community. I never thought that I would be cut out for the job coming from a construction background, but I am passionate about improving the health of my community.
What’s your most memorable experience working as a CHW?
One of my most memorable moments was when I first saw improvement in my third participant. She went from not taking her meds at all to properly taking them. She had environmental issues in the home that could be corrected by just removing clutter that was collecting dust and cleaning the home with environment-friendly cleaners. After three visits with the participant, I noticed that she listened to me and valued my advice to improve her health. This motivated me to work even harder with other participants. That’s when my journey as a dedicated CHW took root.
What is the biggest challenge in your work and how did you overcome it?
One of my biggest challenges was going into the home for the very first time of a new participant that was very unpleasant, not willing to cooperate and thinking that I was in their home for other reasons, such as reporting them to the Department of Housing and Urban Development or Department of Children and Family Services. I later learned that it was lack of trust. I had to learn how to be open and gain trust fast with the new participants. One way that I learned to gain trust from others was to put myself in their situation. How would I want to be treated? I quickly learned to understand their life in order to gain trust.
Republished with the permission of the Mount Sinai Health System.