Healthcare: everyone needs it; many can’t access it. Especially in rural parts of the country, which also holds true for Wyoming. 

Travel and money make healthcare hard enough to access, and retaining providers is another big issue. The state, the University of Wyoming, and The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) have implemented various strategies in the past to provide better care for residents.

Almost 70 percent of Wyomingites live in “nonmetro areas” (Rural Healthcare Info). There are 16 critical access hospitals in the state. Almost 9 percent of Wyoming residents lack health insurance, and the poverty rate in rural Wyoming is 9.7 percent. 

Get our free mobile app

The newest program addition to improve healthcare access in the state is the Community Health Worker Training program in the UW College of Health Sciences. Launched by The Wyoming Rural Health Institute, the initiative’s goal is to encourage new careers in healthcare in the state. 

The second training cohort has begun, and the program has seen almost 50 trainees. The program is online and asynchronous, with four mini-courses that can be finished in six months. The training is free for Wyoming residents and can complete a paid internship upon completion of the coursework. 

Community health workers (CHWs) will be non-clinical professionals who are able to provide patient education, and patient advocacy, and help community members navigate the healthcare and social service systems in order to help them get the care they need. 

UW said that CHWs will “work within communities as front-line agents of change, helping people navigate the health care system, incorporate health behavior change into their lives, and work toward overall health and wellness.”

“As a critical new entry-level health profession, community health workers offer the opportunity to grow the health care workforce in Wyoming,” said Jacob Warren, dean of UW’s College of Health Sciences. “Through this program, we are excited to further expand the college’s central mission of providing health and wellness professionals for all of Wyoming.”

To learn more about UW’s CHW Training Program, visit www.uwyo.edu/hs/chw or email chw@uwyo.edu.

Cheers to 100 Years: 2023 Wyoming Homecoming Parade

The University of Wyoming celebrated 100 years of Homecoming festivities this year.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Sherwood

More From Laramie Live