CHUD Academy offers certified
colonias health worker training


Health workers in the Texas border communities known as “colonias” will soon be able to benefit from a certified training program offered through the Colonias Program of the Center for Housing and Urban Development (CHUD) at Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture.

This, and two other unique training programs recently certified by the Texas Department of State Health Services, will be the inaugural offerings of the newly established CHUD Training Academy, said Oscar J. Munoz, deputy director of CHUD.

“The training academy is poised to become one of CHUD’s flagship programs,” said center director Jorge Vanegas. “With the academy, CHUD is one step closer to fulfilling its vision of enhancing the quality of life of colonias residents, as well as the quality of the built environment in which they live.”

The health workers in the colonias, for which the training program was created, are known by the Spanish name promotoras. They are predominantly colonias residents who are recruited and trained to provide their neighbors with information on health and human services, education, workforce development and other social programs through friendly, door-to-door and face-to-face contact. In short, the promotoras provide a neighbor-helping-neighbor service connecting colonias residents with the myriad social services available through public and private sector organizations.

Colonias are impoverished, unincorporated and relatively undeveloped villages near population centers along the U.S. side of the U.S.- Mexico border.

The state certified two promotoras training programs through CHUD’s Colonias Program, which are available in both English and Spanish. One is a 40-hour, eight-part course that focuses on communication, service coordination, capacity building, advocacy, teaching and health-based skills. The other is a 20-hour course providing additional training to fulfill the certified promotoras continuing education requirement.

In addition to promotoras training, the CHUD Training Academy has been certified by the state to offer Lance Armstrong Foundation Cancer Survivorship Training, a 12-hour course addressing the physical, emotional, and daily concerns of cancer patients and their families. The academy will also offer an 8-hour physical activities training curriculum developed by the Fort Worth Health Department. Both curriculums will be available in English and Spanish.

Plans call for the CHUD Training Academy courses to be offered on site and via video conferencing, the Internet and distance learning connections, through their regional offices and 22 community resource centers located throughout the Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Additionally, CHUD is developing a formal education program for trainers of promotoras, as well as continuing education courses and specialized promotoras training in field research support, financial education, life management skills, grief management skills, and community emergency response training.

CHUD partners with over 400 local government, state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations to offer a wide range of programs promoting the active involvement of colonias residents in strengthening the social infrastructure of their community.

For more information on CHUD or its Colonias Program, call 979-862-2370 or 1-800-633-2374.

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