American Public Health Association
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Community Health Workers
Section Newsletter
Fall 2010

Message from the Chair


I hope this summer has reinvigorated CHWs across the country for the work ahead of us. It has certainly energized me!  Several states have held CHW conferences and Annual Meetings. I attended and presented at Unity 2010, the Michigan 3rd Annual CHW Conference and also attended the Canadian Public Health Association Annual Meeting. I had the pleasure of representing the CHW Section at all of the above mentioned conferences. While all were exciting and well organized, each was amazing in its own right.  Other than the APHA Annual Meeting, currently there is only one other annual conference where many CHWs gather -- the Unity Conference, hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi.  This year Unity was held in Columbus, Ohio.  The Ohio CHW Association (OCHWA) was very involved in the conference planning and they, along with the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, were wonderful hosts.  The conference is always a great experience, but it is even more so when the statewide CHW Association is engaged the planning. Thanks to Jewel Bell, OCHWA’s president, for hosting CHWs from around the country.  To top off a wonderful conference, Corinne Justin was the 2010 recipient of the Esther M. Holderby Dedicated CHW Award. She is a Gila River Indian Community tribal member and the first community health representative (CHR) to be the award’s recipient. The award was established after the 2005 death of Esther M. Holderby, my mother and a dedicated CHW herself.

The Canadian Public Health Association Annual Meeting was held in Toronto, Canada on the heels of the Unity Conference.  You may not be aware, but our section has members in Canada. I was invited to participate in a pre-conference session on CHWs.  The session included presentations on the CHW movement in the United States, international CHW programs and the Community Health Representative (CHR) program in Canada. I was struck by the commonalities our field has, no matter our job titles or where we work. There is not a CHW unit at the Canadian Public Health Association, and the session participants were very interested in the involvement we have in APHA.  We will be working with our Canadian CHW Section members and others to advance the CHW movement across our northern border.

The last stop on my CHW summer time journey was Grand Rapids, Mich.  I had the honor to spend the day with some amazing CHWs. The Michigan CHWs are ready and eager to organize. Like several CHW organizations across the country, they have had a difficult time sustaining their efforts. I hope they will hold on to the energy I felt in the room and move forward. I have no doubt they will. It was a true honor to represent the CHW Section at each conference.

There are new CHW organizations in Texas and Rhode Island, and I’m sure there are other budding organizations that are not on the radar yet.  I wish them well in organizing and giving the CHW workforce a unified voice in their states as we move forward.  It is crucial that all states develop and maintain strong CHW organizations which have CHW leadership.  Joining APHA is important on several levels, but we cannot forsake our CHW brothers and sisters in our home states or countries.  Strong CHW organizations in our own backyards will enhance our involvement in national initiatives, efforts and organizations like APHA. We should develop CHW leaders at home and encourage those leaders to be active within APHA.

As we move forward as a Section there are expanded opportunities for leadership, not only in our section, but in APHA.  The CHW Section is only as strong as our membership. Please join your colleagues in Denver at the 2010 APHA Annual Meeting to enhance your knowledge, network and become more engaged in the Association.  Our program planner has worked incredibly hard along with a small committee to bring an innovative program.  The social justice theme is perfect to highlight the work of CHWs, promotores de salud and CHRs around the country and around the world.  We received several abstracts from international programs, speaking to the important role of CHWs to promote health worldwide.  Please stop by our new booth at the expo during the Annual Meeting to receive the CHW program session listings. I’m sure you’ll find at least a few sessions to entice you.


See you in Denver!

Lisa Renee Holderby


Exciting CHW Section Program Set for APHA 138th Annual Meeting in Denver

Social justice is the theme of this year’s conference. Recognizing that community health workers play an integral role in our communities and more oft than not employ social justice into their everyday lives and work, the Program Planning Committee was overwhelmed by the number of abstracts received, 90 plus. This is a great start to being a brand new section. Our 2010 program consists of two poster sessions, two roundtable sessions, five scientific sessions, a CHW workshop on social justice and one special session.

As in the past we will have several business meetings. It is extremely important that our members participate as we will begin to develop our infrastructure as a Section, creating bylaws, committee positions, etc. Schedule for meetings is as follows: 

Ø  CHW Section Executive Board Meeting – Sunday, Nov. 7, at 2:30 p.m.

Ø  CHW Section Education Y Capacitacion Meeting – Sunday, Nov. 7, at 6:00 p.m.

Ø  CHW Section Policy Committee Meeting – Monday, Nov. 8, at 7:00 a.m.

Ø  CHW Section General Business Meeting – Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 6:30 p.m.

Ø  CHW Section Program Planning Meeting – Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 a.m.

Lastly, but certainly not least important, all are invited to attend the CHW Section Social Hour/Reception, which will be held Monday evening from 6:30 – 8:00.  All members are encouraged to come and meet, mingle and network. Frolic, food and fun await you!

To register for the APHA Annual Meeting and to view the CHW Section program and speakers, go to: Don’t forget when you register make sure you name the CHW Section as your affiliation. We look forward to seeing you in Denver, the mile high city!


Call for Papers on CHWs

Community health workers are increasingly acknowledged to play an essential role in helping to improve the delivery of public health services to many marginalized populations. The American Journal of Public Health ( AJPH ) editorial team and board broadly support the timeliness of this topic. Therefore, AJPH plans to have a theme issue on “Community Health Workers and Public Health” in late 2011 or early 2012.

Submissions are welcome that address issues related to: community health workers and access to care; community health workers and reduction of disparities in health; community health workers and their integration into new models of comprehensive care; community health workers and their role in Health Care Reform; training, certification and payment of the community health worker workforce; and other related topics.

Note that “Community Health Worker” is the term selected by a national group of community health workers in the 1990s to create an umbrella term for a number of job titles that meet certain criteria. Other common job titles include Outreach Worker, Patient Navigator, Patient Advocate, Peer Leader, Promotor(a), Family Support Worker, Enrollment Worker, etc.

All selected authors are encouraged to consider the different categories of manuscripts as indicated on the AJPH website. All manuscripts will undergo the standard peer review process by the AJPH editors and peer referees as defined by AJPH policy. Manuscripts will be due to the Journal on Dec. 15, 2010, and can be submitted at

General inquiries regarding this theme issue can be made to Stewart Landers, AJPH Associate Editor, at

Massachusetts Governor Signs CHW Bill

September marks a historic month for strengthening the community health worker workforce in Massachusetts. One of of the priorities of the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW) since December 2008 has been to advocate for the creation of a CHW board of certification, and we succeeded. This month Governor Patrick signed the bill into law! This success has helped CHWs in Massachusetts take the next step to strengthen our professional identity, foster leadership among CHWs, and promote the integration of CHWs into health care and public health services.

What does this law mean to CHWs in Massachusetts?

  • This law creates the board of certification structure starting in 2012. Most of the details of what certification could look like and its benefits will be shaped by input from CHWs and stakeholders.
  • In a few years CHWs have the choice to apply to be a "certified community health worker."

What's next? 

  • The first group discussion about the new law occurred at MACHW's 4th Annual Meeting on Sept. 16, 2010. More than 130 MACHW members drafted questions about the law and brainstormed the process for moving forward.
  • Bill signing celebrations over the next month across the commonwealth.
  • Regional dialogues throughout the next year to draft the blueprint for certification.

Key Factsheets:

For more information, visit:  

Third Annual Michigan Conference Inspires Workers to Start New Association

Sept. 24, 2010, Grand Rapids, MI—Spectrum Health Healthier Communities sponsored the Third Annual Community Health Workers Conference: CHWs Incorporating Healthy Life Changes into Their Communities. Topics included continued education, surviving in this tough economy, CHWs as social entrepreneurs and how to raise healthy kids. The keynote speaker, Lisa Renee Holderby, a 20-year seasoned CHW from Boston, Massachusetts, spoke about the core values that define the profession. She also presented opportunities and challenges for workers who are interested in further developing their careers and knowledge base as the field grows in the city and state.

Ms. Holderby has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers. As the first CHW in the nation to be employed full time as an executive director, she brings a breadth of experience in organizing CHWs tor the advancement of the profession. Attendees appeared motivated and willing to embrace the challenges of self-organizing and planning necessary to bring a new CHW association to Grand Rapids and the West Michigan region. Plans are underway to build a citywide network database for CHWs—formal meetings and focus groups will follow. Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit integrated health care system dedicated to improving the health of the communities it serves.

For further information, contact Graciela Cadena at


Texas "Summit" Maps New Course for CHW Workforce Development

More than 100 participants from across Texas met in Houston, June 17-18 to consider the "business case" for employing CHWs and consider strategies to move the state forward.  Employers, CHWs, State and federal officials and other stakeholders heard a rousing call to action ("Why CHWs?") from Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, former Texas health commissioner and now chief medical officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. 

Dr. Sanchez also served as responder to a panel of five health care employers presenting their own compelling evidence of a positive "return on investment" from employing CHWs. According to conference organizers, publicizing such previously unpublished data, and collecting employer testimonials, will be a key future activity.

On the second day, Gail Hirsch, director of the Office of CHWs in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, presented her State's rationale for enhanced CHW workforce policy and the Massachusetts approach to comprehensive policy change.

Participants committed to support of independent local and statewide associations of CHWs and agreed to organize themselves for future actions under the umbrella of the Texas Public Health Association, which has offered to create a "CHW Workforce Section."  Other action priorities include consideration of a Medicaid waiver for CHW reimbursement and inclusion of CHW services as medical costs in calculating "medical loss ratios" for health insurers.  For more information contact Carl Rush (

CHW Association and Network Corner: CHWs Are Organizing

Across the country, at all levels (statewide, locally and nationally), CHWs are organizing professional associations or networks. CHW associations advocate for CHWs and the communities they serve. They give CHWs a means of gaining additional skills, accessing support and recognition, and sharing resources and strategies with peers. This regular newsletter feature highlights the ongoing organizing efforts of CHWs across the country. We urge CHWs to contact their local networks and get involved! If there is no network in your area, think about starting one. Contact the network nearest you for information and strategies about organizing. We recognize the enormous energy and commitment of CHWs as they organize. We also know that this is only a partial list of CHW associations. If you know of others, please let us know!  Contact Newsletter Editor Gail Hirsch at: or (617) 624-6016.

Welcome to the Community Health Worker Association of Rhode Island (CHWARI)!

CHWARI hired its first full time employee, effective in August 2010, to coordinate the Association.  Presently, the Steering Committee is exploring standardized training and education paths for all Rhode Island CHWs.  Additionally, CHWARI is helping to coordinate CHW networking, events, and expanding its website to provide resources for CHWs. Please see contact information below.

National CHW Associations

American Association of Community Health Workers: Durrell Fox  and Pam Chapman, Co-chairs.

American Public Health Association CHW Section: Lisa Renee Holderby, Chair, (617) 275-2813,;

National Hispanic CHW Association: Zeida Estrada, Chair,, (281) 222-9643

National Association Community Health Representatives: Cindy Norris, President, PO Box 1064, Sells, AZ (502) 471-3487;

State/Regional CHW Organizations

Arizona Community Health Outreach Workers Network (AzCHOW), Of, By, and For Community Health Outreach Workers; Flor Redondo, Chair;

The Community Health Worker/Promotoras Network, Maria Lemus, Executive Director, Vision Y Compromiso, 2536 Edwards Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530; (510) 232-7869; (510) 231-9954 fax; e-mail:, or Maria at

REACH-Workers – the Community Health Workers of Tampa Bay. Please contact Michelle Dublin, chairperson of the network, at (727) 588-4018 or


Georgia Community Health Advisor Network, Gail McCray, Department of CH/PM Morehouse School of Medicine, 720 Westview Drive, Atlanta, GA  30310-1495; Ph: (404) 752-1645,

HAWAII – in process of forming CHW organization. Leimomi Shearer, CHW, 69-A Railroad Ave, Hilo, Hawaii 96720


Chicago CHW Local Network.  Contact Laura Bahena.  1436 W. Randolph St. 4th Floor,Chicago, IL. 60607.  Telephone (312) 243-4772 ext. 225.  Fax  (312) 243-4792.  E-mail  


Community Outreach Workers Association of Maryland, INC. (COWAM), 259 North Lanvale Street, Baltimore, Md. 21217, (410) 664-6949 or (410) 669-7960, Carol Payne,


Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW), Cindy Marti, Policy Director,, 434 Jamaicaway, Jamaica Plain MA, 02130, (617) 524-6696 x108;


Michigan CHW Coalition, Celeste Sanchez at; (616) 328-4475.


Minnesota CHW Peer Network out of the Minnesota International Health Volunteers,
122 W. Franklin Ave. #522, Minneapolis, MN 55404, Anita Buel, Vice Chair,, Grace Anderson, Chair or Andrea Leinberger (staff) (612) 230-3254

NEW JERSEY – no CHW organization but the NJ CHW Institute is supporting the development of CHW groups. Contact person Yvette Murry, Community Health Worker Institute, NJ AHEC/ UMDNJ-SOM,; 42 Laurel Road E., STE. 3200 Stratford, NJ 08084; (856) 566-6724.

New Mexico Community Health Workers Association (NMCHWA), P.O. Box 81433, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87198,,  (505) 255-1227


Statewide: Community Health Worker Network of New York State,

New York City -Community Health Worker Network of NYC; 425 E. 25 Street; New York, NY 10010; (212) 481-7667 Sergio Matos, Executive Director  or Romy Rodriguez, Chair,; Website:

Rochester - Rochester Outreach Workers Association (ROWA), Latisha Williams, Chair, (585) 274-8490,


Ohio Community Health Worker Association, Jewel Bell, President, phone (513) 464-8404,,

Oregon Community Health Workers Association, 9000 N. Lombard Street--2nd Floor, Portland, OR 97203, (503) 988-3366, ext 28686, Teresa Ríos,, or Veronica Lopez Ericksen,


Community Health Worker Association of Rhode Island (CHWARI); Beth Lamarre, Rhode Island Parent Information Network, 1210 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI  02920, Ph: (401) 270-0101,,


South Texas Promotora Association, Weslaco, Texas, Merida Escobar, STPA President/CEO, E-mail:, (956) 383-5393;P.O. BOX 350, San Juan, Texas 78589.


Washington Community Health Worker Network

Lilia Gomez - (360) 786-9722 (ext 230) -

Seth Doyle - (206) 783-3004 (ext 16) -

Meet Your Leaders: Members of the CHW Section Executive Council

Carl H. Rush, MRP, is currently an active consultant for Community Resources LLC, based in San Antonio, Texas.  Carl has been Secretary of the Community Health Worker Special Primary Interest Group/Section since 2008.  Carl was appointed to the APHA Education Board and elected to the APHA Governing Council in 2009.  His involvement with our Section’s CHW work at APHA dates back much farther than these formal critical roles.  He first got involved in APHA when he started working for a college-based CHW Program at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio in 2001, and he has, as he puts it, “had the privilege of working on final revisions to the 2001 (SPIG) Policy Statement on CHWs” during the APHA Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

Before becoming an active player in the CHW field, Carl worked in public health and community development for more than 30 years, including 11 years managing charitable grant making and corporate public affairs programs.  His involvement with CHW work began in 1995 when a friend and colleague at the University of Texas School of Public Health introduced him to the concept.  Carl shares he was "immediately fascinated" by the opportunity to combine public health and community-based economic development by creating jobs for CHWs.  By actually working with CHWs starting in 1997, he learned what a unique and valuable part of the community CHWs can be.

In addition to Carl’s work with CHWs and public health matters, he leads a lively artistic life as an actor; Carl has been featured in community theater productions since 1998.  He is also an experienced musician having played both the trumpet and trombone in his youth, and now regularly plays percussion and electric bass.  In addition to his artistic skills, Carl is a known "gadget freak" – he is fascinated by technology, and has worked with computers since 1967. He says he can't wait for an affordable electric car!  Finally, ever the politico, Carl was a precinct captain for Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries, and voted in caucuses and county convention as well.


J. Nell Brownstein, PhD, is a Health Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she has been employed since 1990.  She is also an Associate Adjunct Professor of Public Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.  Nell has been active with Community Health Worker (CHW) Special Primary Interest Group (SPIG) for many years, supporting its growth and development since the early 1990s.  For many years, Dr. Brownstein served as the SPIG’s Educational and Communications Liaison. Since we became a Section, she has been a general Advisor to the Section.  The SPIG/Section has relied on Nell’s support to keep communications going for many years.  She has also provided extensive technical support to the SPIG/Section in part based on her knowledge gained through management of a CHW literature and program data base for many years at the CDC as well as through her own research efforts.

Nell first became involved with the CHW field in 1990 when she began her work at the CDC with an assignment to serve as the technical monitor for the University of Arizona’s Arizona Prevention Center which had a focus on heart disease and cancer and which engaged CHWs and promotores to deliver interventions.  At that time she says she had no familiarity with CHWs or promotores but she learned quickly, reaching out across the nation to learn from others working in the field.  It was in those early years that she found the SPIG and became an active contributor and member.

Dr. Brownstein’s current CHW projects and activities include playing an active leadership role in producing The Community Health Worker’s Sourcebook: a Training Manual for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (English and Spanish versions).  She is also involved with the development and evaluation of the use of family-oriented consumer products for Hispanic populations: fotonovelas and promotores guides on salt and cholesterol. Nell reports that she is committed to helping others “recognize the effectiveness of Community Health Workers as front-line public health workers…and to promot(ing) comprehensive policy and systems changes to promote involvement of CHWs.”  When Nell is not working as a professor, researcher, author, and mentor, she can be found at craft shows and garage sales in greater Atlanta.  She is also a great guide at the APHA’s Annual Meeting with many survival and networking tips.


APHA Membership Information

For those of you who are not members of the CHW Section or APHA itself, please consider joining us! If you are a member of APHA, the CHW Section also welcomes you to join us as a primary member.

If you are unable to select the CHW Section as your primary affiliation in APHA, please consider electing the CHW Section as a secondary section, and you will receive our CHW newsletter!

For those of you who are not yet members of APHA, there are many options for membership:

· A Special Community Health Worker subsidized membership ($65 annually for those whose income is under $30,000 annually);

· A consumer subsidized membership ($65 annually for those who do not derive income from health related activities);

· A Student/Trainee subsidized membership ($50 annually for those enrolled in a college or university or occupied in a formal training program);

· Regular membership is $160 annually.

Memberships include all benefits such as the American Journal of Public Health and The Nation’s Health.  For details on how to become a member of APHA and how to designate the CHW Section as your Section, please call (202) 777-APHA. You can also check out APHA's Web site at or e-mail

In the event you cannot become an official member of APHA, we still need your wisdom, support, knowledge and power. Please feel free to contact any of the officers listed in this newsletter about the CHW Section and how you can be involved.

APHA Initiatives on Transportation and Public Health

As we all appreciate, our health is profoundly affected by our transportation decisions and options. Limited opportunities for physical activity, higher exposure to poor air quality, higher incidences of adult and childhood obesity and greater prevalence of asthma and cardiovascular disease are a few of the inequities brought by poor transportation policies. As part of our effort to enhance crosscutting activity and knowledge among various APHA members and sections, APHA is developing advocacy materials and helpful information related to the links between transportation and public health. If anyone is interested in learning more about this initiative, sharing success stories or lessons learned, or establishing a new Forum on Transportation and Public Health, please reach out to us! Interested members are asked to contact Eloisa Raynault at


APHA 2010 Community Health Worker Section Executive Council

2010 Chair

Lisa Renee Holderby
Community Catalyst
(617) 275


2010 Chair-elect

Maria Lourdes Fernández



Carl H. Rush
Community Resources, LLC
(210) 745



Susan MayfieldJohnson
Center for Sustainable Health Outreach
University of Southern Mississippi
(601) 266


Governing Council Representative

Action Board Representative

Durrell Fox
New England HIV Education Consortium
and Massachusetts Association of
Community Health Workers
(617) 262


Program Planner

Teresa M. Hines
Continuing Medical Education
Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
(915) 783


Communication/Newsletter Co-chair

Gail Hirsch
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
and Massachusetts Association of
Community Health Workers
(617) 624


Communication/Newsletter Co-chair

Molly Martin
Rush University
(312) 942-2540


Education y Capacitación Committee Chair

Immediate Past Chair

Sergio Matos
Community Health Worker Network of
NYC and Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
(212) 304


Policy Co-chair

Anne Willaert
(507) 389-7347


Policy Co-chair

Jewel Bell
Ohio CHW Association
(513) 425


Nominations Committee Co-chair

E. Lee Rosenthal
University of Texas at El Paso
(915) 747


Nominations Committee Co-chair

Lyzette Orr
Virginia Center for Health Outreach

(703) 228-1286


Liaison Committee Co-chair

Colleen Reinert
Migrant Health Promotion
(734) 944


Liaison Committee Co-chair

Samantha Sabo
University of Arizona
(520) 419


Special Advisor

Nell Brownstein
Centers for Disease Control &Prevention
(770) 488

Community Health Workers Newsletter Archives