While some individuals discover their passions later in life, others feel a natural calling right from the start. In the case of Tiffany Scott, CCHW, CHWI, she has always been a Community Health Worker (CHW).
A Maryland native, Scott is the first-ever certified CHW in the state of Maryland. She received her certification in 2015 and currently works as a CHW Instructor, Master Trainer, and Consultant with hopes to promote the CHW profession in both Maryland and Texas.
Not only is she passionate about her work, she also is dedicated to the advancement of health in the state of Maryland. Read the Q&A below to learn more about her work!
What does your work entail?
“A lot of the work that I do promotes the CHW profession, including teaching new individuals to become certified Community Health Workers and teaching certified Community Health Workers how to be instructors or master trainers. I also have conversations with organizations that want to hire CHWs or already have CHWs but are unsure of how to utilize them within the confines of their organization.”
What do you think about the state of healthcare in Maryland?
“I think there’s still work to be done. I think there are still barriers people run into that can result in a lack of quality care. Lately, I’ve been working with a lot of individuals who were dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, people who had Medicaid and they’re losing benefits, and people who can’t get benefits because they may be a dollar over the income level.
I think we’re doing some much needed work, but I think there are some other things that need to be done. We need some more safety nets to make sure that no one is [choosing] between health insurance or paying for groceries for their family to eat. That should not be a decision anyone has to make. And so I think when people have to make tough decisions like that, then that’s a systemic issue. That needs to be addressed and fixed.”
How are CHWs helping address some of the lapses in healthcare?
“We bring that information back and we advocate for our client. I know I’ve advocated all the way up the chain, almost to the CEO of an organization, saying, ‘Hey, did you know that this was happening?’ Because nobody was answering phone calls. Nobody could give me an answer and a community member needed the assistance.
We bring things to the forefront. Some people think they know, but they don’t know the loopholes. They don’t know the little cracks where people are falling through. I think CHWs just kind of shine a light on those.”
What advice would you give to organizations that are trying to utilize CHWs more?
“If you have CHWs that have been seasoned – and I call ‘seasoned CHWs’ the people who have been in the game for three, four, or five-plus years – ask them what they see. Ask them what it is that they do and how you can support them. If you don’t know, it’s great to go and hire a consultant. That’s what I am. That’s what I like to do. It’s great for you to hire us to come and help build that infrastructure. But you have the keys there – the CHWs themselves. You have the key players there. Ask them what it is that they need.”
What is your favorite part of being a CHW?
“My favorite part is seeing change. When someone conquers a goal, gets to the end of the finish line, receives what they need, or enrolls into school, the outcome is priceless. You can’t put a monetary value on the emotion and the feeling that you get when someone comes back. There’s something that’s just so rewarding about helping people to see where they are, where they want to be, and being a bridge. Being that support system to get them to their goal is like the cherry on the top.
Once I got into the field and realized all the uniqueness of a CHW, I realized I’ve been a CHW since birth. I [watched] my mom take care of family members and my grandparents take care of family members – the front door was always open. I realized this is something that has been a part of me and a part of my DNA before I even stumbled upon the profession. I’ve always been a CHW.”
Tiffany Scott, CCHW, CHWI, is a highly accomplished and dedicated professional as a Community Health Worker (CHW). She holds the title of being the first certified CHW in the state of Maryland, showcasing her dedication to the field and her experience. She has made significant contributions to the CHW profession and has a wealth of experience and achievements. Tiffany has been serving as the Vice-Chair of the Maryland CHW Advisory Committee since 2018. In this role, she plays a crucial part in advising and shaping the CHW policies and initiatives in the state of Maryland. As a co-founder of the Maryland CHW Association, Tiffany has been instrumental in establishing and supporting this organization, through advocacy and creating a safe space for CHWs to train, learn, network, and gain support from colleagues. Her consultancy work involves enhancing the CHW profession, which includes training, program development, and policy advocacy, locally and nationally. As a Master Trainer with extensive expertise in training, mentoring, and supervising CHWs. Tiffany’s contributions have played a vital role in building a skilled and competent CHW workforce. Tiffany continues to support various local organizations, hospital systems, agencies, FQHCs (Federally Qualified Health Centers), MDH (Maryland Department of Health), and CHWs. Her support is critical to advancing the role of CHWs in healthcare and community services. Tiffany has been affectionately given the title of the “CHW, CHW”. For outstanding commitment and support, she provides to CHWs who may be facing the same social determinants of health as their community members. Tiffany Scott’s work as a CHW, CHW Instructor, CHW Consultant, and Master Trainer and her extensive involvement in training, advocacy, and policy development demonstrates her commitment to improving community health and the CHW profession in Maryland and nationally.