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A Letter of Love
from our CEO
Do you want to know what's the best part about what I do?
Illuminating what CHWs look like in real life.
In my role, I get the privilege to center and amplify community experience and wisdom, across all domains of health.
Daily, I help neighbors turn their passion into a career – from grassroots service to a professional.
I'm privileged to engage a growing network of 300+ CHW neighborhood leaders and more than 50 organizations, to design a multi-faceted, grassroots, and legislative strategy that works to ensure the CHW workforce enjoys long-term viability
at regional, state, and national levels.
In short, together, we're creating space to solution beyond survival, cultivating strategies that build people not programs."
- Ciearra "CJ" Walker –
We value evidence, experience, and empirical knowledge as necessary contributions to public health,
and our culture of inquiry allows us to lean into a both/and approach.
It has been beautiful watching the St Louis region, relentlessly press towards the origin of what it means to be a CHW, employ a CHW, and support a CHW. Recognizing the roots of community health work falls outside the system,
it has been one of the most gratifying to experience the region lean into power building and equitable transformation.
In our region, we’ve been intentional to make sure CHWs have the privilege, opportunity, and access
to work within - or outside of - any system a neighbor may engage;
this includes health, social services, education, justice, civic engagement, behavioral health and more.
We see through national efforts, as well as the work of our state, Missouri, that the CHW workforce is just getting started. In the St Louis Metropolitan Area, we have over 300 trained CHW’s eligible for state credentialing. This workforce is on the rise, but it requires the proper support not only to maintain health, but simply to preserve.
"As a social impact organization working to improve the lives of everyday people - that we call neighbors -
it is important we stay timely. The Coalition responds to immediate needs because when you live in 'a community',
you understand that the needs of the community are different every day.
As an organization, we chose to live and step with the neighborhood.
Our organization, is currently the only non-profit organization in the state of Missouri governed by CHWs,
positioned to support the scaling, sustainability, and leadership development of the workforce.
At the Coalition, we uniquely position CHWs, who truly understand the culture and reality of the people they serve,
as liaisons in our local community and within decision making systems/structures. This allows us to also build genuine rapport with leaders and partner organizations, thus aiding in our ability to make effective full circle connections.
Innovation sits at the core of our work.
We not only model what it means to work from the inside out,
but we also support organizations who are attempting to do the same.
Ciearra "CJ" Walker
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