Coalition’s AmeriCorps community health coach program expands in Camden

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Camden Coalition has welcomed its newest and largest-ever AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps cohort to their 2015-16 service year. The Coalition’s work with AmeriCorps connects the next generation of medical and public service professionals to patients in the Camden community.

Over the next year, the 14 AmeriCorps members will serve as health coaches for frequently hospitalized Camden patients enrolled in the Coalition’s intervention, working alongside nurses, social workers, and community health workers.

A new iteration of the program will embed ten of the health coaches with our partner service providers in the community, while four will work directly with the Coalition’s Care Management teams in the field. CAMcare, Cooper Health System’s Urban Health Institute, and Project H.O.P.E. will all host Coalition-trained AmeriCorps health coaches.

During their first week at the Coalition, new health coaches were immersed in a week-long pre-service orientation that encompassed the history of Camden, the principles of population health, and our patient care philosophies. Specialized training on trauma-informed care and harm reduction was provided by our local partners Hopeworks ‘n Camden and Project H.O.P.E., and Marsha Johnson of the Urban Health Institute introduced the group to the principles and practice of motivational interviewing.

The cohort will gain valuable real-world experience working in a community setting, developing skills needed to create successful careers as medical professionals and public servants.

“We’re thrilled at the growth of the program —adding four more health coaches this year — and the outpouring of interest in our work that we’ve had from AmeriCorps participants,” said the program’s coordinator Laura Jakimowicz. “They bring us incredible energy, drive, and a passion to make a difference. We continue to deepen and expand the service learning experience we offer, and look forward to an exciting year in the ongoing development of the program. ”

The AmeriCorps program is part of the Coalition’s efforts to educate and provide mentorship for the next generation of health care professionals in Camden and beyond.

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