New Program Reduces Healthcare Barriers in the Inland Empire

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This fall Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) is partnering with Loma Linda University (LLU) and community agencies to train, place and support community health workers (CHWs) in the Inland Empire (I.E.).  The pilot program is aimed at reducing barriers to health care services in marginalized and underserved areas and encouraging diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

In the initial stage of the program’s two-tiered approach, the health plan will professionally train a new community health workforce in an intensive nine-week program. Program curriculum encompasses CHW training provided by Loma Linda San Manuel Gateway College’s Certificated Community Health Worker Training Program and various IEHP Health Navigator courses. Continuous training opportunities will also be offered to ensure CHWs remain equipped with needed resources.

The workforce will be staffed in partnership with community agencies and their employees who may be interested in a career advancement opportunity. These agencies include Young Visionaries (High Desert), Michelle’s Place (Temecula Valley), Asian American Resource Center (San Bernardino), LGBTQ Center (Palm Springs), and the Sahaba Initiative (San Bernardino).

Internally, IEHP’s Community Health Managers Delia Orosco, Maria Gallegos and Carmen Ramirez are actively collaborating to support the needs of the program. “To truly encourage DEI in the I.E., each organization is focused on understanding and meeting the needs of a specific population. By working together to share knowledge and resources, we can better meet those needs and enhance wellness throughout the region,” said Orosco.

DEI continues to be the focus of program’s second tier. This includes IEHP’s work to lead external CHW assignments that empower residents by teaching them how to utilize health care benefits, helping them navigate benefit services, and increasing their ability to advocate for themselves in their community.

“Our hope is that we can collectively improve regional health outcomes by supporting communities that have been historically underserved and marginalized with resources and culturally relevant supports,” said Dr. Gabriel Uribe, IEHP’s Director of Community Health. “Health literacy is essential to DEI work, and no one should suffer because they are not aware of available services. This community health workforce will fill in those gaps and serve as a step forward in our effort to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the Inland Empire.”

The pilot program will run until September 2022, with the goal of expansion soon thereafter.


About IEHP
With a mission to heal and inspire the human spirit, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) is one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans and the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid plan in the country. In its 25th year, IEHP is supporting more than 1.4 million residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties who are enrolled in Medicaid or Cal MediConnect Plans and has a growing network of over 7,300 providers and nearly 2,500 Team Members. Through dynamic partnerships with Providers and Community Organizations, paired with award-winning service and a tradition of quality care, IEHP is fully committed to their vision: We will not rest until our communities enjoy optimal care and vibrant health.  For more information, visit iehp.org.

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