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Rural Health Information Hub

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine Center for Rural and Community Health (WVSOM CRCH)

  • Project Title: Community Health Education Resource Person (CHERP)
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Drema Hill, Vice President of Community Engagement and Development
  • Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia
  • Program Overview: The vision of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine Center for Rural and Community Health (WVSOM CRCH) is to empower communities to reach their highest level of health and wellness. WVSOM CRCH implements four education and training programs, including training to become a Community Health Education Resource Person (CHERP), Prescription Opioid & Heroin Awareness Toolkits, the HIS & HER Health Literacy Campaign, and WV State Opioid Response Professional Development.

    The CHERP program trains community health workers (CHWs) to provide support, education, and resources to assist friends, family, and community members in managing chronic diseases and navigating health services. CHERP-trained CHWs can also work with local doctors, nurses, personal trainers, dietitians, and others in promoting health. Training is offered online to anyone 18 years or older with a high-school diploma or general equivalency degree (GED) or higher education. The training is free, and participants can opt to purchase a certificate of completion. CHERP offers three levels of training with focuses on wellness, health promotion and disease prevention, and chronic disease management. Additional disease self-management resources and training are offered, including the diabetes self-management program, chronic disease self-management program, chronic pain self-management program, tobacco cessation, and cancer resources. The CRHC is licensed to offer the Stanford University Self-Management Programs. In these self-management programs, participants learn and practice strategies such as communicating with healthcare teams, managing chronic disease conditions, reducing pain and stress, eating healthier, using medications wisely, and being more physically active.

    The Center's education and training services work with the community to provide gardening classes, cooking classes, FARMacy WV, and many more opportunities. WVSOM CRCH has built a strong relationship with the community through its numerous partnerships. For example, WVSOM CRCH partners with the Mountain Transit Authority to provide residents with free transportation to medical appointments. This emphasis on partnerships has created both infrastructure and trust to help support the community to improve health and well-being.

Models represented by this program: