Behavioral Health Aide About the BHA Program

The Behavioral Health Aide (BHA) Program grew out of the statewide “counselor-in-every village” initiative to provide behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery services in rural Alaska. The BHA program was founded by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) in 2009 and modeled after the Community Health Aide Program (CHAP), which was established to assess and provide emergent, acute, and chronic medical care to residents in rural communities. 

ANTHC is a consortium of 18 Tribal Health Organizations (THOs) within the state of Alaska. THOs created and tasked the Tribal Behavioral Health Directors Committee (TBHDC) with identifying community health priorities in areas such as domestic violence, sexual assault, substance use, suicide, and historical trauma. Through the guidance and leadership of the TBHDC, the BHA Program aims to improve behavioral health outcomes by addressing the various training needs of the BHA workforce.  

The BHA Program works with partners across the state to increase access to BHA training, develop resources to guide clinical practice, and support all BHA/Ps in their goal of BHA certification by the Community Health Aide Program Certification Board (CHAPCB). To make a request for assistance or obtain more information contact us with one of the service areas listed below in the subject line.

Training Center

  • Comprehensive Training – a library of culturally relevant courses built specifically to meet the requirements of the Specialized Training Track for certification at the BHA I and BHA II levels and all courses on the Alternative Training Track for certification at the BHA I, II, III and Practitioner levels.
  • Accessible – most classes are offered via distance using self-paced, instructor led, or a combination of formats. Some classes are provided in-person only. The Training Center uses a quarter system and courses are offered on a rotating schedule.
  • Competency-based – courses are designed to meet the BHA curriculum requirements, develop practical skills and core competencies, and target reimbursable skills.

Resources

  • Electronic Behavioral Health Aide Manual (eBHAM) – A web-based manual is made available to all BHAs to supplement their training and assist providers in remote locations with fundamental information and best practices for addressing many of the issues and concerns indentified during client care visits. The eBHAM is also intended as a guide for other providers who work with BHAs; it helps providers to reinforce BHA training, reduce errors and confusion, and enhance BHAs confidence in service and treatment planning.
  • BHA Forum – An in-person Forum is offered on an annual basis in Anchorage, AK.  The purpose of the Forum is to provide continuing education for certified BHAs, to provide support and connection for the BHA workforce and to honor and acknowledge the work of exceptional BHAs.
  • BHA Knowledge and Skills – There are ten core competencies that a BHA must demonstrate to achieve certification.  Theses competencies are integrated into BHA courses and serve as a resource for employers to use in BHA recruitment, job descriptions, supervision, and performance reviews.
  • BHA Registered Apprenticeship – BHA certification is recognized as a national occupational credential by the US Department of Labor (DOL). Registered Apprenticeships use an earn-as-you-learn model, including the BHA RA that is targeted to develop knowledge and skills for the BHA scope of work. Employers who meet specific criteria may be eligible for training stipends for BHA new hires.
  • BHA Templates and Materials – Sample templates and materials are created to help THOs hire and retain BHAs. See our Resource section for BHA career brochures, posters and certification aides.

Technical Assistance

  • Tribal Health Organizations – the ANTHC BHA Program provides assistance with implementation of THOs individual BHA programs in a way that meets their unique organizational and community needs and priorities.
  • Behavioral Health Academic Review Committee (BHARC) – we coordinate and support the efforts of BHARC, a subcommittee of the of the Tribal Behavioral Health Directors Committee, which oversees matters related to BHA training and adherence to the CHAP Certification Board Standards and Procedures.
  • Lower 48 Tribes – we provide information and best practices related to Alaska’s development of the Behavioral Health Aide Program. Such assistance is provided to tribes and organizations within Alaska, as well as those tribes and organizations in the “lower 48” states working with the Indian Health Service (IHS) to create similar Health Aide Programs and workforces. View this presentation to hear how the ANTHC BHA Program is growing a community-based workforce to provide quality services to Alaska Natives.

Certification Advising

  • One-on-One Advising – the ANTHC BHA Program works one-on-one with BHA candidates who are referred by their THO employer. BHAs are assisted in a step-by-step process to identify a training pathway and to access relevant resources to help them achieve the level of certification they are seeking.
  • Statewide database of BHAs – We maintain statewide listservs of BHAs employed by the various Tribal Health Organizations within Alaska. These listservs are used to disseminate information on and resources for BHA training and certification.  The BHA database is not shared with outside agencies, but contact information for THO Behavioral Health Departments is available on the THO websites.
  • Clinical Supervisor Support – a webinar is hosted every fourth Friday of the month at 1pm with a targeted audience of BHA clinical supervisors. The monthly webinar aims to address matters related to BHA certification, including topics such as cultural competence in the Alaska Native context, BHA certification “how-to”, and Alaska State Medicaid initiatives.