PNCT Presents CHW Work at Three Fall Conferences

By Shenazar (Shane) Esmundo, MPH, Doctor of Public Health Student, Data Analyst for PNCT

One poster and three academic conferences later – our poster has been to places. Attending different research conferences gave me unique insights into the diverse landscape of academic gatherings. I wanted to share the highlights of my academic adventure and the valuable lessons I learned along the way. But before diving into that – let me share a bit about the poster I presented.

The title of our poster is “Building Workforce Pathways for Community Health Workers in Colorado.” This work was with the Patient Navigation and Community Health Worker Training program (PNCT). PNCT is passionate about bridging the needs of formalizing pathways and creating sustainable career ladders for community health workers (CHWs). This poster was to emphasize our current CHW training program, which is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This program aims to establish a strong foundation and establish infrastructure for education and career pathways for aspiring CHWs. The program offers training that aligns with CHW competencies, apprenticeships, and internship opportunities to prepare individuals before employment.

Conference 1: Public Health in the Rockies (Keystone, Colorado)

This was my first conference as a student and presenter in Keystone, Colorado – a beautiful and serene location. This conference may have been smaller and more intimate than others I’ve attended, but the quality of work was exceptional. Many people showed interest in my poster by asking thoughtful questions and commenting on our significant work. Since moving to Colorado and attending this conference, I have gained a greater understanding of the incredible local work and the powerful collaborations happening beyond state lines.

Conference 2: Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH) Research Exchange (Aurora, Colorado)

Our poster made its way to the CSPH Research Exchange where “faculty and students from all three of our universities—University of Colorado Anschutz, Colorado State University, and University of Northern Colorado—and community partners who share our dedication to public health are invited to participate.” I was eager to showcase the work we’ve been doing with CHWs and be surrounded by peers and colleagues to learn more about their current work. The Research Exchange program featured presentations and sessions from experts in different fields, making it a multidisciplinary learning experience.

Conference 3: American Public Health Association (Atlanta, Georgia)

The last poster stop – Atlanta. This was a great way to end the year and also end the run for my poster adventure. This year’s theme was “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Overcoming Social and Ethical Challenges.” CHWs play an immense role in overcoming barriers like this. Although I learned about different efforts around CHWs, they had a common goal of empowering CHWs and overall improving the communities they serve. I was grateful to travel out of state to share impactful local work from Colorado.

I am excited to see what the future holds with PNCT, the team, and our work with CHWs. If I could sum up this whole experience in three words, it would be: enlightening, inspiring, and memorable.