A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

SRJC alumni honor local health workers

To commemorate Community Health Workers Month, SRJC Alumni and Friends organized its first annual Prevention and Wellness Showcase at Bertolini Student Center, Oct. 1.

Eighteen organizations displayed their work to the public “to generate an understanding of who community health workers are and where they work in Sonoma County,” said coordinator Carol West.

Dedicated health workers help thousands of people in a wide variety of capacities. For example, organizations such as National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and Transforming Peers’ Lives support people suffering from mental disorders. “Doulas,” also known as labor coaches, help women during childbirth and postpartum depression. The Council on Aging provides social, legal and financial services for seniors. Jeanie O’Neill, care manager with “Meals on Wheels,” said her program provides 1200 home-cooked meals a day to seniors in the area.

The Living Room helps homeless women and children providing breakfast and lunch each day in downtown Santa Rosa. “Yesterday, 90 people were there for lunch,” said Pat MacKenzie, assistant program director.

On campus, SRJC Student Health Services offers physical services as well as psychological counseling.

During the celebration, community health workers honored Janet Fisk, director of SRJC’s community health workers program, for her work building the Community Health Workers Certificate Program. “I am very proud of our 300-plus students who have been in the class and who are now spread around in Sonoma County,” Fisk said.

Those interested in becoming a community health worker can enroll in the SRJC Health Program. The one-year program delivers a Career Certificate and the two-year program delivers an Associate’s Degree with a major in community health work.

Community health workers “play such a critical role to bridge the cultural relationships between community and the health care system,” said Rita Scardaci, director of Sonoma County Health Service. “They have a broad capacity to insure that individuals get the services they need and the right type of services from the right provider. That builds community and builds individual strengths.”

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Anne-Elisabeth Cavarec, Staff Writer

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    Carol WestOct 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you for covering our event!