Community Health Worker - Archived Newsletters
Section Newsletter
Annual Meeting 2006

Message from the Chair

Fall 2006
Dear Colleagues:

I want to extend a warm greeting to all our members and supporters. We continue to focus on emerging issues for community health workers and the field of community outreach. Our efforts are concentrated on a number of important fronts.

Our Community Health Worker Special Primary Interest Group (SPIG) at APHA continues to grow and mature as an integral part of the larger organization. Our two governing council representatives are working hard to give voice and attention to issues facing CHWs across the nation. Our Policy Committee is taking the lead in efforts to address issues of policy and practice important to our field - such as a standardized CHW definition, legislation, self-determination, credentialing and certification.

Our program planning committee has completed our program for the APHA 134th Annual Meeting and Exposition, scheduled for Nov. 4-8, 2006 in Boston. We have developed a full three-day program with innovative and interactive oral sessions, roundtables and special sessions. This year our reception will be hosted by local community-based organizations that employ CHWs.

Our special committee to liaison with other sections, SPIGs and caucuses has been developing relationships with those groups in order to establish contacts and cooperative efforts. And our membership committee continues its efforts to recruit and retain members. Our CHW research section highlights a number of exciting initiatives underway, including efforts to develop a national research agenda for the development of the CHW field. The CHW Network Corner contains a listing of established and emerging CHW organizations.

We have also included an article on our planned program for the APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition in November. For comments, please contact me at or our newsletter editor, Gail Ballester.

CHW SPIG Plans Exciting Program for Boston!

Please join us in historic Boston for APHA’s 134th Annual Meeting and Exposition on Nov. 4-8, 2006! Continuing in our tradition of combining scientific papers with voices from the field and time for interaction, the SPIG has developed a full program of oral, poster, and roundtable sessions to learn about and discuss the current field of Community Health Worker Programs. Session titles include:

  • Capacity Building and Training for CHWs
  • CHWs as Integral Members of the Health Care Delivery Team
  • Documenting Outcomes and CHW Program Evaluation
  • New and Emerging Roles for CHWs, Including Researchers, Patient Navigators, Trainers, etc.
  • Other Issues of Importance to CHWs
  • Public Health & Human Rights: The Role of CHWs

In addition, we invite you to attend other activities such as our regular business meeting and reception. We are also planning a special session to highlight some of the cutting-edge programmatic and networking activities that have been done in Massachusetts. We look forward to seeing you and to advancing the field of Community Health Workers together!

Massachusetts Legislator and APHA State Affiliate to Be Honored

This year’s APHA Annual Meeting in Boston will be special for many reasons. It’s difficult to single out any particular session, but the Massachusetts Community Health Worker Network would like to call your attention to the Community Health Worker Special Primary Interest Group’s reception. This year’s reception is being hosted by MACHW, the state’s professional organization for CHWs. MACHW leadership is active within the SPIG and hold seats on APHA’s Governing Council.

This has been an exciting year for CHWs in Massachusetts. We have CHW drafted legislation included in the health care reform package, now law (Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006); are gaining recognition as valued members of the health care and human service delivery teams; and APHA is in Boston, giving many more Massachusetts CHWs the opportunity to attend.

In past years during the APHA Annual Meeting the CHW SPIG has honored individuals for their support of community health workers. This year the SPIG will honor Massachusetts State Representative Gloria Fox and the Massachusetts Public Health Association for their support and hard work to assist with MACHW’s legislative agenda.

Representative Fox was the lead sponsor of “An Act Providing For The Investigation and Study By The Department of Public Health Relative To Community Health Workers,” commonly called the CHW bill. In addition, Representative Fox put forth amendments to the health care reform bill early in the process to support CHWs having active roles in the implementation of the legislation. For the first time CHWs will have a seat on the state’s Public Health Council. Representative Fox has a long history of fighting to ensure the community’s voice is heard. Additionally, she is actively working to reduce health disparities. CHWs in Massachusetts are grateful to have Representative Fox as an ally.

The Massachusetts Public Health Association, the state’s APHA affiliate, is a major supporter of CHWs and of MACHW. MPHA is MACHW’s fiscal agent, but the support does not end there. MPHA offers MACHW organizational technical assistance, provides training for its Board of Directors, and offers in-kind staff time and support for MACHW’s legislative agenda. In addition, MPHA offers CHWs a reduced membership fee and embraces CHWs as public health professionals. Without MPHA’s guidance and encouragement to draft legislation, the CHW language in Chapter 58 may not have happened. CHWs in Massachusetts wished to publicly thank MPHA and recognize the organization as having best practices to support CHWs. All affiliates should be as welcoming as MPHA to CHWs.

The CHW SPIG reception will be held on Monday, Nov. 6 from 6:30-8:00 at the Westin Boston Waterfront. The event is sponsored by local organizations, which support CHWs and our efforts to ensure all residents of Massachusetts have increased access to health care and human services. Please join the CHW SPIG and MACHW to honor Representative Fox and the Massachusetts Public Health Association during the reception.

CHW SPIG Policy Committee Update

The policy committee has been working diligently these past months towards creating a Community Health Worker definition. The roles of CHWs vary greatly, depending on the needs of the community being served. CHWs are doing innovative work, and the lack of cohesion among CHWs, as reflected by the lack of a standard definition, is a barrier to CHW progress and undermines the ability of CHWs to achieve their full potential. In an attempt to capture the unique relationship with the community which makes the CHW effective, the APHA CHW SPIG Policy Committee has submitted the following definition to United States Department of Labor Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee (SOCPC):

Community Health Worker: Final Definition “A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.”

We are excited to have approached such an important milestone in the CHW movement and anxiously await a response from the SOCPC in October 2006.

Update on CHW Studies

Report on CHW sustainability

The National Fund for Medical Education, part of the Center for the Health Professions at the University of California San Francisco, will release this fall an important new study on funding and sustainability of CHW services. At this writing release date is expected in early October. When published, it will be available on the Center’s Web site, The study was supported by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota.

National Workforce Study from HRSA

A draft final report on the CHW National Workforce Study was to be submitted to HRSA by the end of September from the Regional Center for Health Workforce Studies, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The report is based on an extensive review of available literature, analysis of data from the CSHO CHW Programs Inventory, estimates of the size of the CHW workforce from Census and Labor Department data, and interviews in four states. Portions of the findings may be released by HRSA later this fall after revisions and internal reviews.

Research Conference

A landmark invitational conference will be held in Dallas, Jan. 26-27, 2007, to create a consensus research agenda on the CHW field. Approximately 60 researchers, CHWs and policy-makers from the public and sectors will meet for two days to agree on the top priority research questions to be investigated and standards for research methods to be used. The conference is supported by the California Endowment, the Northwest Area Foundation and the California Health Care Foundation.

Camden AHEC Names New Director of Community Health Worker Institute

Dwyan Y. Monroe, formerly of Baltimore, now residing in Willingboro, N.J., has been named director of the Community Health Worker Institute in Camden, N.J. The Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC) launched the Institute last year, when the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration issued a $257,000 grant, through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Monroe had been research program coordinator at Chesapeake Research Review, Inc., Columbia, Md., where she ensured compliance with regulations that protect human subjects in community-based clinical research. Prior to that, she was a community health interventionist/project coordinator of community-health projects at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine and School of Nursing in Baltimore, including an intervention program for young black men with high blood pressure and another designed to improve communication between physicians and their patients. A graduate of Hampton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Monroe holds certification in a number of disciplines from Johns Hopkins University, including the Mid-Atlantic Health Leadership Institute and the Maryland State Office of Training and Education for Addiction Services.

The Community Health Workers Institute is a formalized mechanism for establishing and promoting the role of community health workers in helping minorities and other underserved populations gain access to health care services. Trained CHWs extend the reach of professional health care teams and help penetrate barriers between low-income families and health care, as well as Medicaid and other health insurance plans. The Institute’s first year centered on: increasing acceptance and understanding of CHWs as a distinct profession; obtaining support for the Institute’s activities; creating a professional CHW organization; and establishing a network of employers, funders and other stakeholders, including colleges and health agencies. An objective this year is to integrate into medical school curricula data on CHWs as critical members of an interdisciplinary health care team; and to train future physicians to work effectively with CHWs.

Dwyan Monroe, BA
Deputy Director, Community Health Worker Institute
42 Laurel Road E., STE. 3200 Stratford, NJ 08084
ph: 856-566-6024
fax: 856-566-2754

CHW 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 Ballester, at:, or (617) 624-6016.

State and National CHW Networks

Wandy Hernandez, Chair, Chicago Health Connection, 957 W. Washington Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60607; (312) 243-4772; Zeida Estrada, Secretary; Gateway to Care, Harris County CAP 6201 Bonhomme #243-S, Houston, TX 77036, (713) 783-4616;

Arizona Community Health Outreach Workers Network (AzCHOW), Of, By, and For Community Health Outreach Workers;
; Lourdes Fernandez, Co-Chair; Flor Redondo, Co-Chair,; Belen Feather, Secretary.

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

Orange County CAA (Certified Application Assistor ) Task Force, a non-profit professional association for Care Coordinators, Health Advocates, Promotoras etc. They meet once a month for program updates, training and to share best practices as well as to network. Contact: Maria Wahab, Chair, Children's Hospital of Orange County, 455 S. Main St., Orange, CA, 92868-3874; Office: (714) 516-4334; Fax: (714) 532-8785; E-mail:

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

MARYLAND Community Outreach Workers Association of Maryland, INC. (COWAM), 259 North Lanvale Street, Baltimore, Md. 21217, (410) 664-6949 or (410) 669-7960, Dwyan Monroe, President;

Massachusetts Community Health Worker Network (MACHW), Lisa Renee Siciliano, Director,, (508) 856-4852, University of Massachusetts Office of Community Programs, 222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545.

Michigan Community Advocate Association (MICAA), Contact: Maria Alvarez deLopez,; President-Roshawnda S. Thompson -; (616) 356-6205 or (616) 827-2094.

Minnesota CHW Peer Network out of the Minnesota International Health Volunteers, 122 W. Franklin Ave. #522, Minneapolis, MN 55404, LuAnn Werner (612) 230-3255 or Andrea Leinberger (612) 230-3254

Contact: Dwyan Monroe, Deputy Director, Community Health Worker Institute, NJ AHEC/ UMDNJ-SOM, 42 Laurel Road E., STE. 3200 Stratford, NJ 08084; ph: (856) 566-6024, fax: (856) 566-2754 e-mail:

New Mexico Community Health Workers Association (NMCHWA), P.O. Box 81433 Albuquerque, New Mexico 87198, or BJ Ciesielski,, (505) 272-4741.


NEW YORK CITY -Community Health Worker Network of NYC; 425 E. 25 Street; New York, NY 10010; (212) 481-7667; Sergio Matos, Elena Schwolsky, Rita Taylor, and Romy Rodriguez;;;

ROCHESTER - Rochester Outreach Workers Association (ROWA), Latisha Williams, Chair, 585-274-8490;; Lucinda Colindres, (585) 244-9000, ex. 454.

Oregon Community Health Workers Association, 9000 N. Lombard Street--2nd Floor, Portland, OR 97203, (503) 988-3366 x28686, Teresa Ríos,, or Veronica Lopez Ericksen,

APHA Membership Information

For those of you who are not members of the CHW Special Primary Interest Group or APHA itself, please consider joining us! If you are a member of APHA, the SPIG also welcomes you to join us as a primary member. If you are unable to select CHW SPIG as your primary affiliation in APHA, please consider electing the CHW SPIG 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 subscriptions to 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 SPIG as your Section/SPIG, 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 SPIG and how you can be involved.

APHA 2006 Community Health Worker SPIG Executive Board

Sergio Matos
Community Health Worker Network of NYC
(718) 703-9340

Immediate Past Chair/Governing Council Representative
Durrell Fox
New England HIV Education Consortium
Massachusetts Community Health Worker Network
23 Miner Street
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 355-8421

Crystal M. Brown

Governing Council Representative
Lisa Renee Siciliano
Massachusetts Community Health Worker Network
(508) 856-4852

Program Planners 2006
Tammi Fleming
Public/Private Ventures Inc.
2000 Market St., Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19103-3231
(215) 557-4487

Elena Schwolsky-Fitch
Director of Training & Staff Development
New York City Asthma Initiative
2238 135th St., 2nd Floor, room 231
212-676-2574 (Voicemail only)

Policy Committee Chair
Maria Alvarez deLopez, CHW
MOMS - Mothers Offering Mothers Support
Spectrum Health Hospital
75 Sheldon SE, Suite 203
Grand Rapids, Mi. 49503
Phone: 616-391-3473
Fax: 616-391-6185

Liaison to Other APHA Sections, SPIGs and Caucuses
Tori Booker
Migrant Health Promotion
224 W. Michigan Ave.
Saline, MI 48176
(734) 944-0244

Carl Rush
(210) 745-0560

Communication/Continuing Education
Nell Brownstein
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
4770 Buford Hwy NE MS K47
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
(770) 488-2570

Newsletter Editor
Gail Ballester
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 624-6016
Fax: (617) 624-6062