Community Health Workers in Arizona take strides toward voluntary certification!

Lorena Verdugo, Community Board Member and AzCHOW Board Member testified before the Arizona House Committee on CHW voluntary certification. It was an active legislative season for AzCHOW and the Arizona Community Health Worker Workforce Coalition. On December 16, 2016, the Arizona Health Committee of reference passed the Sunrise Application, paving the way for Voluntary Certification of Arizona CHWs. AZCHOW was strongly encouraged by several legislators and other key stakeholders to submit a bill during the current session. The idea was to “strike while the iron is hot”. House Democrat Representative Charlene Fernandez from Yuma sponsored the bill, which was assigned to the Health Committee. After hearing stellar testimony by AzCHOW Board member Lorena Verdugo, Mariposa Director Susan Kunz and AzPHA Executive Director Will Humble, members passed the bill out of the committee on February 16th. The bill passed the House on February 21st with an overwhelming vote of 41 to 17.

The bill was assigned to the Commerce and Public Safety Committee, where sadly the committee chair declined to hear it, bringing an end to our legislative action for this session. AZCHOW and the Coalition we would thanks everyone who worked so hard to move this bill forward. Arizona legislators are now aware of who community health workers are and what they do. network of organizations supporting voluntary certification in our state is strong and growing.

Mary Contreras