Communithy health worker | Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging

Carol Witcher

Kris Krasnowski
February 18th, 2015 — 5:48pm

Community Health Worker, Program Leader

Carol Witcher

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Carol Witcher is grand- and great-grandmother from Milwaukee.  She’s also a community health worker, a Living Well and Healthy Living with Diabetes Leader — with a chronic condition that she actively self-manages through healthy eating and exercise – who knows how to connect with her community.  We asked Carol to tell us about her experience as a program Leader and were impressed by her passion and enthusiasm for the role:

Tell us about your professional and volunteer work as it relates to working in health promotion, health education, working with people with chronic conditions. 

I am a Community Connector for Molina Healthcare and a community health worker with the Wisconsin Community Health Workers Alliance, a Power to End Stroke Ambassador, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, and I sit on the Lindsay Heights Community Research Council.  I also do volunteer ministry at the Taycheeda Correctional Institute in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin every fourth Sunday.  A “community connector” serves as a community-based member advocate and resource and is a vital part of the integrated health care team assisting members in managing their health care needs.

My role as a community health worker is the same as a community connector, but I also assist community members with other resources found in the community such as access to housing, food, clothing, health care facilities, etc.

What’s your philosophy on healthy living?

I believe the more informed a person is on how to live a healthy life, the more she or he can make healthy choices.  I believe health is your wealth — if you have good health, then you are wealthy.  I believe we should all pursue health as actively as we try pursuing wealth.  It is an activity that must be engaged in daily.  Optimum health is wealth.

What do you like about being a program Leader? 

I love empowering people to take control of their life and their chronic conditions.  A chronic condition doesn’t have to stop anyone from enjoying a full productive life and I believe the Living Well workshops empower communities.

Please share an example of a success story

I had a Living Well participant who had hypertension and was pre-diabetic.  Since attending our workshop, she learned how to talk with her health care provider and developed an action plan focused on losing weight.  She enrolled at a local YMCA and does water aerobics.  Her blood pressure has gone down, she is managing her weight, and no longer has high sugar levels.

You have been successful in recruiting individuals from diverse communities to your workshops.  Can you share some of your strategies? 

I believe that if you value what you are teaching and it’s a passion for you, others will see your passion and commitment to living a healthy life, no matter race, creed, or culture.  You must let others know you care about them and it is possible to live this kind of life every day, one day at a time.

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