Empowering Communities: The Vital Role of Community Health Workers during COVID-19

Now more than ever, people are looking to members of the health care workforce for hope and guidance during the outbreak of COVID-19. Individuals with an education in Community Health are particularly well suited to help deal with issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program’s focus on making individuals, communities, states and nations healthier empowers you on your journey to become part of a lasting and impactful solution.

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Building a Foundation

When you pursue a degree or certificate in Community Health, you have the ability to study the science behind the causes and effects of health issues such as COVID-19 and develop skills to implement solutions for these issues.

Associate Professor Sharon Eden teaches Epidemiology and Environmental Risk Factors for Disease as part of the Community Health curriculum. Both courses offer a foundation in understanding the science behind the patterns and distribution of illnesses such as COVID-19.

“Epidemiology is the foundation of public health, and epidemiologists study public health data, assess risks to public health and search for solutions, whether for the COVID-19 infection or some other condition,” says Eden. “Community health professionals must be knowledgeable in epidemiology to do their jobs and communicate with the public.”

Affecting Change

Becoming knowledgeable in epidemiology and other scientific practices is just one element of the Clarkson College Community Health program. The curriculum also focuses on developing skills to take this knowledge and use it to communicate with and care for the public.

Adjunct faculty member Caryn Vincent, MPH, CPH, was recently named Interim Deputy Director of Public Health for the state of Nebraska amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She teaches courses in Community Engagement & Social Change and sees firsthand the critical roles community health workers fulfill during these times.

“Community health involves having an understanding of how public health systems work as well as how state, national, international and community health systems are set up,” she says. “Having an understanding of the needs of communities is critical when serving the public because it can really help you respond better and be more direct in your response when dealing with this type of situation.”

One area Vincent oversees is the Office of Disparities and Health Equity, which works with several minority populations throughout the state. “During this time, we’re trying to make sure that everybody is getting the same information and that it is accurate,” she says. “Our office works with a strong network of community health workers and partners who have been critical in us getting information to non-English speaking communities.”

Student at Community Building


Your Education

Whether your interest lies in working with minority groups, connecting geriatric patients with resources they need or affecting public policy change, the Clarkson College Community Health program offers a tailored approach to your education. You can choose from concentrations in Public Health, Human Services, Women’s Health, Gerontology and Health Care Business that will help you meet your personal and professional goals. All courses are offered 100% online, and you can complete fieldwork requirements at organizations of your choice.

Learn more about our Bachelor’s degree and certificate options at clarksoncollege.edu/community-health.