Joshua E. Collier is a certified Community Health Worker for The Dell Medical School at UT Austin, based at the Collinfield Clinic which is operated by The Lone Star Circle of Care, a FQHC clinic. As a CHW he provides social care to patients through referrals, systems navigation, chronic disease education and advocacy. He has worked for over two years as a co-developer of the SHIP platform by providing CHW-centered insights into the way social care works in the clinical setting.
As a Community Health Worker working in a clinical space, Collier understands the constant challenges caused by siloed data and how this affects patients. Collier is excited about highlighting the ability of CHWs to participate in co-development of health data tools that will assist social care workers to labor more effectively as part of multidisciplinary teams collaborating in the community. He sees how creating more efficient systems for both medical and social care coordination is urgent. Coupled with the understanding that a large degree of health is related to non-medical drivers, he feels urgency around the need to expand both the capacity and scale of social care work. In addition to incredibly high cost-savings, he sees the importance of addressing the gross injustice inherent in vastly inequitable health outcomes for minoritized communities. He is proud to participate in the collaborative process of developing a socially-centered, equity-focused health, informatics tool.
His work at the clinic led him to create a language access training for a mobile mammogram clinic called The Big Pink Bus where the staff frequently use an interpretation service to provide services in multiple languages. Collier has worked as a professional interpreter and translator for two decades and co-founded the Tucson Language Justice Collective. He will be seeking certification as a CHW Instructor in June of 2023. Collier’s previous work at Casa Marianella, a shelter for recently arrived immigrants, as a Spanish teacher, as a farmworker, as an organizer and as a consensus meeting facilitator — along with his B.A. (in Spanish/women’s studies) from Southwestern University — have informed his interest in community-building. Three years spent in Ecuador and travels in Latin America inspired him to seek work in solidarity with migrants centered on hospitality. He regularly returns to Northern Mexico by bicycle to continue to develop relationships with communities organizing in the region. In 2015, he was able to document work in social change on a longer trip to Panamá.