The Community Health degree program covers the Community Health Aide Basic Training Curriculum** and leads to an Associate of Applied Science (AAS). The program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver primary and emergency health care as community health aides in rural Alaskan villages, under the remote medical supervision of a physician. If they have not already completed the Basic Training Curriculum (CH Major Studies), students in the program must be employed by a Tribal Health Organization.
The statewide Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) came into being in the 1960s, with the recognition that community and individual wellness in rural Alaska was adversely affected due to the lack of local healthcare providers. CHAP received congressional funding in 1968. Since then, with cooperation between federal and state governments as well as Alaska Native Tribal Health Organizations, CHAP has contributed significantly to improved health care access and outcomes in rural Alaska.
APU’s CH degree – including the the CHAP Curriculum – covers basic health care information and medical language. It focuses on what community health aides need to know in order to provide effective primary health care, within the limits of community health aide/practitioner protocols. The Foundational Studies introduce APU Core Competencies. The Major Studies consist of four training sessions and a preceptorship. Each of the training sessions includes onsite education at a regional Community Health Aide Training Center, followed by a clinical field component where knowledge and skills are reinforced and evaluated.
Students completing the AAS degree can apply for admission in to a bachelor’s level degree program (check with Admissions or the Registrar’s Office for details regarding readmission upon completion from the AAS). Courses completed at the associate’s level can apply to bachelor’s level requirements.
A graduate will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree with foundational-to-integrated proficiency in APU’s Core Competencies:
- Effective Communication [EC]: Demonstrate the ability to get one’s point across in writing, presentations, and organizations in order to share information, teach others, and foster collaboration
- Critical Thinking [CT]: Demonstrate the ability to compute, analyze, make sense of information or data, and reach reasoned conclusions cognizant of possible bias or fallacies
- Cultural & Historical Perspective [CH]: Demonstrate the ability to effectively consider tradition and heritage in relation to decision-making in a world shaped by diverse cultures and abiding histories
- Scientific Inquiry [SI]: Demonstrate the ability to reach verifiable conclusions based on documented observations, findings, and recognized methods in order to know how things work in our world
- Ethical Engagement [EE]: Demonstrate ability to raise needed questions and apply ethical and effective problem-framing and problem-solving to make things better
The degree is designed to meet the following Professional Competencies:
- Knowledge & Skills (KS): Preparation to function in a Village clinic under the remote medical supervision of a physician [EC, CH, CT, EE]
- Assessment & Plans (AP): Preparation to conduct accurate history, assessment, and plan for problem-oriented patient visit [EC, SI, EE]
- Systems & Care Encounters (S&CE): Preparation to conduct patient encounters for an array of conditions, and evaluation of all body systems [CT, SI]
The general requirements for admission to undergraduate professional studies at APU are found in the Admissions section of the catalog. In addition, the following is required for admission to the Community Health AAS program:
- If the applicant has not yet completed the Basic Training Curriculum (CH Major Studies), the applicant must provide documentation of employment showing she/he is hired as a Community Health Aide by a Tribal Health Organization.
**Community Health Aide Curriculum and Community Health Practitioner Credentialing:
According to federal authorization, CHAP curriculum and training is reviewed by a statewide group, the Academic Review Committee (ARC), with representation by community health aides, instructors, field supervisors, and university partners including APU. This committee reports to the Association of CHA Program Directors and develops all aspects of community health aide training including the establishment of curriculum and training standards in compliance with the Community Health Aide Program Certification Board Standards and Procedures. The CH Major Studies of the AAS comprise APU’s CH undergraduate certificate. Successful completion of the CH undergraduate certificate meets one of the requirements for credentialing to become a Community Health Practitioner (CHP). The credentialing process (which is external to APU) is guided and completed in conjunction with the regional Community Health Aide Training Centers.