Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Community Health Workers (CHWs) from all over the United States and abroad gathered from April 14th-17th for the annual Unity conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Known as a conference for CHWS by CHWS, Unity 2019 had over 750 people registered, one of the most attended Unity conferences since its inception. CHW project sites from the Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health (CISWH) presented their work in HIV care through poster and roundtable sessions. The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) team, Keanu Medina, Lourdes Yapjoco, and Merlyn Yegon, presented a poster session on their team approach to having a CHW program that focused on linking and retaining HIV-positive Latinx population in their region. Savi Bailey from Legacy Community Health in Houston, Texas, Evelyn Nicholson from the JACQUES Initiative in Baltimore, Maryland, and Shala Perla from the McGregor Clinic in Fort Myers, Florida, gave two presentations focused on implementation challenges and solutions of CHW programs in their respective sites. The CHWS shared unique challenges and shared commonalities that they experienced in integrating the CHW program at their organizations. The conference also marked the launching of the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW). Conference organizers and boards members gathered to light the torch signifying the launching of NACHW, an effort to unify and strengthen the CHW workforce across the nation. Unity 2019 ended with awarding the Esther M. Holderby Award to CHWs who have overcome personal adversity to promote health, for which Evelyn Nicholson from the JACQUES Initiative received an honorable mention.