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Tornadoes kill 5 and injure dozens in Iowa; coalition presses lawmakers to put climate bond on CA November ballot; More residential care coming for children with acute mental health needs; and ND again ranks high for workplace danger.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Community Health Workers Take a Bow in Missouri

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Wednesday, September 6, 2023   

Some 450,000 Missourians get their medical care from Community Health Workers, and those workers are trying to raise public awareness about their role in the health care field.

National Community Health Workers Awareness Week ended over the Labor Day weekend, highlighting those who work in health care centers, treating people no matter their insurance status or ability to pay.

Treva Smith, care coordination manager at KC Care Health Center in Kansas City, said in terms of improving health care, the workers see themselves as part of something bigger than Missouri, which she pointed out is the fourth most active state for community health worker care.

"We need to keep pushing, continue to move forward in Missouri," Smith asserted. "We're in the middle. Sometimes people look at us as flyover land, but in fact, we are the heartbeat, and if we can do it here in the middle, I think it can permeate throughout this nation."

Smith noted unlike other states, Missouri has community health workers not only in emergency rooms and pharmacies, but in libraries and at faith-based organizations; anywhere there are public health needs to be met.

Smith emphasized policymakers and other major players in the health care field need to provide sustainable funding for Community Health Centers. The current federal funding for the system of clinics expires at the end of September unless Congress acts to renew it.

"We want to be the advocates for our communities," Smith stressed. "To better the health, to lower some of the health costs, to get better health outcomes. All of that is encapsulated in the work that we do as community health workers. We are able to communicate in a way that doctors, nurses and even other social workers can't do."

The 2021 American Rescue Plan provided a pandemic-related funding boost of nearly $240 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand the public health workforce, by creating a pipeline program for 13,000 community health workers and paraprofessionals from underserved communities.


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