Providing quality health services to our service area is a difficult task when one considers our geographic challenges. The Community Health Aide program began over 40 years ago with the Sanitation Aide program. The very first Health Aides were trained community members who worked to insure that rural Alaska Native people in need of chemotherapy to address the tuberculosis outbreaks received their medications regularly. Initially village health workers were volunteers. In the mid-1960s some small-scale training programs for village health aides began and finally, in 1968, the Alaska Area Native Health Service initiated the formal Community Health Aide training efforts.
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, (incorporated in 1969,) has continued training efforts to keep our Community Health Aide Practitioners (CHAPs), and our front-line of providing health care to our villages going strong. YKHC offers four formal Sessions (Levels I-IV) to Health Aides throughout the year to continue to train, support, and educate our most important clinical providers.
Our Physician Assistants, Nurses, Medical Doctors and Supervisor Instructors (experienced Health Aides) all provide oversight and support to Health Aides in training. Our training center, located in Bethel, also provides a “pre-session” lasting one week to prepare the students for the basic sessions as well as a “practicum” to complete all of the skill sets necessary to become a certified Community Health Aide Practioner (CHA/CHP). A pre-requisite of skills is necessary for interested candidates who wish to pursue this health career and approximately 600 hours of documented village field experience is required to fulfill completion to become a certified CHAP.
For more information about the Health Aide Training Sessions, please contact the CHA Training Center Coordinator, Christopher Silva at (907) 543-6188.