Community Health Advocates
The University of Mississippi Medical Center is committed to addressing Mississippi’s poor health status through education, clinical care, and research. Partnerships with those in the community who share the Medical Center’s concerns are essential to improve Mississippi’s health ranking.
We believe that trained health advocates can improve health and wellness in Mississippi when supported by churches, community, and civic organizations. Our most important partners are those who make up our community. Data suggests an effective strategy to address obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease is early disease detection coupled with education and referral to local health resources.
UMMC’s Community Health Advocate Program
UMMC has developed a program to train lay individuals from faith-based and community groups as health screeners. These individuals receive basic instruction in the detection of high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood sugar (diabetes), and how to identify community resources for health care. They also are able to share the basic dietary and weight control information necessary to make healthy choices.
CHA training is staffed by volunteer trainers from the Medical Center. We educate, train, and certify future trainers in hopes that churches and civic organizations will assume responsibility for staffing health screening and health promotion events in the communities in which they live and work.
Upcoming CHA events
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between a CHA training event and a CHA screening event?
CHA training events are train-the-trainer events sponsored and led by UMMC to train individuals who wish to serve as health screeners, or CHAs in their community. Screening events are those occasions when CHAs are invited into churches or civic organizations to conduct health screenings.
What training is provided to CHAs?
UMMC provides training for health advocates and health advocate trainers, either on site at local churches, civic organizations, or on the UMMC campus in Jackson. The training takes between 4 and 6 hours, depending on the group to be trained and whether they will be certified as community health advocates or community health advocate trainers.
Who participates in the CHA Training Program?
- students in the health professions
- members of partner or civic organizations interested in improving public health.
Basic qualifications for CHAs include:
- read at a 6th-grade level or above
- have reliable transportation
- recommendation by their pastors or other community leader
- interest in providing health information to the larger community
- commit to participate in follow-up training.
- CHAs must also understand the ethical implications and boundaries of their service.
Who should be contacted for scheduling?
Interested churches, schools, and civic organizations may contact the Office for Community Engagement and Service Learning at UMMC to arrange CHA screenings and trainings within the state of Mississippi.
Contact Tammy Dempsey for more information or to make a request.