16 Women Rise to the Challenge of Empowering Their Communities

16 Women Rise to the Challenge of Empowering Their Communities

April 12, 2017

Focus Group helps Provide Targeted Health Training

Sargent Shriver Elementary School is located in Silver Spring, Maryland. The project at Sargent Shriver Elementary School is on helping and educating the Spanish Population at this location on how to do basic things that will help improve their lifestyles and stay healthily. It began with an initial meeting in January 2018 with a focus group at this location. During this meeting, information was gathered on their needs and health issues that they are facing.

Women Community Health Workers Learning a Variety of New Tools & Skills

The project will continue for eight weeks, ending in May 2018. With 16 active female participants, this project will empower these women to become Community Health Workers (CHW). Based on their needs from the initial meeting, they are being taught basic things such as understanding and taking vital signs, importance of healthy nutrition, obesity and its health consequences, heart problems and how to prevent them, malnutrition, basics on CPR and First Aid, mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, and how to avoid them, and more. Also, a lot of hands on training is being done on taking temperature, pulse, blood pressure, counting respirations, taking weights, measuring abdominal girth, CPR and First Aid practices, reading and understanding food labels so as to know how to make healthy food choices, and more.

Evaluations & Challenges

Before the beginning of the training, they took a pre-test that indicated that they have an idea on at least 1 health problem. They will equally receive a post-test and a post evaluation at the end of the training that will determine their level of understanding of what was taught during the weekly training. The CHW’s are currently on a water challenge where they are drinking mostly water and at least 8 glasses of water per day. They have taken their weights and measurements of their abdominal circumferences. Their weights and their abdominal circumferences will be checked every week during the weekly training to determine the effects of the water challenge on their weights and general health status. Each week, the women are tasked to bring at least one new health information item to share and discuss with the group.

Growing and Adapting for the Future

After certification in May, each new Community Health Worker will use the knowledge acquired during this project to equally help and educate their families and their various communities at large on staying healthy and was of preventing diseases. The CHW’s are voicing how they are enjoying the training as a result of the new knowledge and information that they are receiving. Even though it is an eight week project, there will still be sustainability of this project in the group continuing to meet either quarterly or twice a year to review new needs and populations of their communities. By so doing, their communities will stay healthy; there will be decrease doctors’ offices visits, and equally decreases in death rates in their communities.


– Amin Njinju, MPH Intern

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