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Community Health Worker - Archived Newsletters
Section Newsletter
Fall 2008

Message from the Chair, Sergio Matos

Greetings friends and colleagues,


Welcome to the fall edition of the CHW SPIG newsletter.  I hope you find this newsletter exciting and informative.


The past year has been extraordinarily exciting and busy for CHWs in the United States and throughout the world.  As the CHW model continues to gain recognition and application throughout the world (particularly in the areas of community organizing, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and chronic disease prevention, management, and treatment), community health workers are becoming more involved in policy and practice issues relevant to our field. Recent interest in CHWs’ ability to help people embrace healthier lifestyle choices and behaviors has powered this growing interest, as the field of public health as a whole ponders its own future and the future of health in general.


In this newsletter, we hope to provide an overview of our more recent developments, particularly in our group’s development and relevant national campaigns.  This edition also contains an article written by Anne Willaert describing our program at the upcoming Annual meeting; another by Maria Alvarez deLopez on the very first Michigan CHW conference recently held in Grand Rapids Michigan; a report written by Susan Mayfield-Johnson on the 2008 Unity Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and an article from Newsletter Editor, Gail Hirsch, on the extraordinary Lisa Renee Holderby, an accomplished and visionary CHW leader from Massachusetts who is the recipient of the 2008 Helen Rodriguez-Trias Social Justice Award and will be honored at the Annual Meeting.


APHA Annual Meeting Program

Firstly, I want to thank Anne Willaert and the program planning committee she chairs, for the exciting and innovative program they have created for the upcoming 136th Annual Meeting of APHA in San Diego, California.  My thanks also to those who volunteered to review and evaluate the many abstracts we received. Our program this year includes scientific sessions, poster sessions, business meetings and a roundtable discussion on CHWs as agents of change, in addition to a CHW leadership workshop organized by Lisa Renee Holderby and Carl Rush – the first time the SPIG has sponsored such an activity.  We will also host a wonderful social reception on Monday evening, October 27th, which has been arranged by Susan Mayfield-Johnson, our Treasurer.  Our reception has always provided a wonderful opportunity for meeting with new and older colleagues and introducing our SPIG to the larger APHA community.  Our general business meeting is scheduled (as usual) at the stimulating hour of 6:30 AM Wednesday morning. Our Liaison Committee to other Sections, SPIGs and Caucuses has also been very active this year.  The committee reviewed most abstracts to be presented at the Annual Meeting this year and selected appropriate sessions for us to co-sponsor.  I thank Tori Booker, who chairs that committee, for these efforts. 


Our new Committee on CHW Education y Capacitación will also meet during the upcoming Annual Meeting.  As interest in CHWs grows, so does interest in certification, training and remuneration.  It is important that such considerations recognize the large body of work already published on appropriate training for CHWs in both college and non-academic settings and that the voice of CHWs lead the discussion.  It is equally important that any credentialing process be developed in a way that supports inclusion rather than limiting participation in the field. Training and certification are both issues with potential to significantly alter our character, membership and how we are viewed in our communities.  These issues also present significant challenges to employers and funders of CHW programs, in that incorporating our role(s) in the healthcare system requires significant understanding on the part of individuals and organizations, to embrace our wisdom and approaches to working with community.  CHWs must speak to these issues in order to maintain our character and the trust we enjoy within our communities.  And healthcare systems must resist the urge to “Make them like us.”


CHW Section Application

I am very excited to announce that the CHW SPIG has submitted an application for “Section” status to APHA Intersectional Committee for Governing Council consideration at the Annual Meeting this year.  This is a huge accomplishment for us and is a direct result of efforts on the part of our SPIG leadership to develop our own internal organizational structure and our involvement in APHA governance for several years in preparation for this application, but we need your help.  Although the SPIG continues to enjoy increased visibility within APHA and our sessions at the Annual Meeting continue to gain in attendance, we still face challenges increasing our membership numbers to meet the required minimum of 250 members.  We ask for the support of all our advocates, supporters, allies and stakeholders to select the CHW SPIG as your affiliation on your APHA membership form to help us achieve this important goal. Towards this end, we have also engaged in a membership drive through an email campaign and through participation in local APHA affiliates. 


CHW SPIG Elections

This year, the SPIG held official APHA-sanctioned elections for our leadership positions, including Chair, Chair-elect and Secretary.  Lisa Renee Holderby from Massachusetts  has been elected to succeed me as the Chair.  Maria Alvarez deLopez, another dedicated and inventive CHW from Michigan, has been elected Chair-elect, and Carl Rush continues to serve as our Secretary.  Now that we have established this formal process, we will continue to implement it in the future.  Our other SPIG Councilors continue to be elected at the general business meeting during the Annual Meeting.


Policy Resolution Supporting CHWs

Also on the policy front, the CHW SPIG Policy Committee worked very hard this year to develop and submit a policy brief titled, “Integrating Community Health Workers to Improve Access and Reduce Health Disparities,” for APHA Governing Council consideration.  This resolution highlights the finding of the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) that there are over 120,000 CHWs working in the United States and that CHWs have been identified as a strategy to reduce and eliminate health disparities. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities,” states that CHWs “offer promise as a community-based resource to increase racial and ethnic minorities’ access to health care and to serve as a liaison between healthcare providers and the communities they serve.”  This resolution builds on a previous one (APHA policy statement 2001-15) written by the SPIG and passed by APHA Governing Council in 2001 titled, “Recognition and Support for CHW’s Contribution to Meeting Our Nation’s Health Care Needs.”  I want to thank Maria Alvarez deLopez, the policy committee chair, and all members of that committee for their outstanding work and commitment to this important effort.


Bureau of Labor Statistics

On the national scene, I am happy to report progress on several important initiatives.  Last year the CHW SPIG responded to a request from the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for comment on possible new Standard Occupational Categories for the 2010 census.  Both HRSA and the CHW SPIG submitted comments to the policy committee of BLS to consider CHWs as a unique standard occupation category (SOC).  We are proud to report that BLS accepted our comments and made a recommendation that CHWs be recognized as a SOC.  That is great news.  Unfortunately, BLS decided to combine CHWs with health educators in a compound category with a shared SOC code.  In response to this recommendation from the BLS policy committee the SPIG mobilized a national campaign to submit comments to the policy committee requesting a separate and independent SOC for CHWs.  The campaign generated hundreds of comments from CHWs, CHW-led organizations, and CHW stakeholders from around the country.  The response was much larger than the policy committee expected so it is taking them a while to review them all.  We expect to hear from BLS on their decision in the very near future.  It is important to mention that this initiative, like many other emerging CHW policies, have broad local and national significance for our identity and our practice.  It is increasingly evident that CHWs must come together in local and national organizations to develop a collective voice and inform these decisions. Without the efforts of the CHW SPIG and other local and regional CHW organizations, these important decisions would be made without our voices potentially leading to a loss of identity and severe limitations on who may practice our field.


American Association of CHWs

AACHW continues to develop as an independent national association.  Over the past year AACHW has concentrated on developing our own organizational structure and strategic plan.  The Association has produced a CHW Code of Ethics and a set of Core Values that help describe our practice.  AACHW and the CHW SPIG have worked together to create a definition of CHWs that is self-descriptive and endorsed by CHW practitioners from around the country.  Our definition is the following.

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.


I applaud the work the CHW SPIG and AACHW in helping local CHW leaders organize independent professional associations and supporting their development.  It is vital that we continue supporting emerging local organizations and their members.  CHWs everywhere share concern that the growing interest in our work may lead to credentialing criteria that could alter our very identity and limit membership in our practice.  This possibility is particularly alarming in the case of government and hospital-based programs which often establish exclusionary employment practices.


So, please let me thank you for visiting our web location and for your interest in the CHW field.  I hope you find this newsletter informative and useful.  Please remember to select the CHW SPIG as your primary or alternate affiliation on your APHA membership profile.  Your support will help us achieve Section status.  We hope to see you at the Annual Meeting.  For comments, please contact me at or our newsletter editor, Gail Hirsch, at


 Sergio Matos


Exciting CHW Program Planned for Annual Meeting

by Anne Willaert


The Community Health Worker Special Primary Interest Group has planned an interesting and  interactive program for the APHA 2008 Annual Meeting in San Diego.  This is an exciting year for the CHW SPIG as we move toward becoming a Section,  providing an opportunity to promote CHWs and their profession throughout the world and in our own country, states and communities.  The program this year consists of four Scientific Oral Sessions, one Roundtable Session, four Business Meetings, two Poster Sessions, and a Social Hour Reception. 


We are also planning something new this year -- the planning committee felt strongly about providing interactive sessions that would inspire and provide valuable information for CHWs and their supporters.   In this year’s program we are sponsoring a three hour leadership workshop for Community Health Workers.  This workshop is replacing two oral session slots, and is scheduled for Wednesday morning, October 29th.     


A social hour reception on Monday evening from 6:30 – 8:00 pm will be filled with wonderful announcements and opportunities for everyone to meet, mingle and network.  We will also have an delicious menu of fun treats!!


To register for the APHA conference and to view the CHW SPIG program and speakers go to  When you register make sure you name the CHW SPIG as your affiliation.   See you soon in beautiful San Diego!! 

Incoming CHW Chair is Honored with APHA Award

  by Gail Hirsch


Lisa Renee Holderby, stepping into the Chair of the CHW SPIG this fall, will be awarded with the 2008 Helen Rodriguez-Trias Social Justice Award at the APHA 136th Annual Meeting in San Diego.  This award honors public health workers who dedicate themselves toward social justice for underserved and disadvantaged populations.


Ms. Holderby is being honored as a public health leader for her “courageous and innovative leadership in statewide as well as national efforts to improve the health of under-served communities through promoting the unique, essential and often under-recognized contributions of community health workers.”  Holderby, with nearly 20 years experience as a CHW and currently executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW), was nominated by Gail Hirsch, MEd, Coordinator of Workforce Initiatives for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Division of Primary Care and Health Access and editor of this newsletter. 


Ms. Holderby has played a leadership role in ground-breaking state and national efforts to promote the contributions of CHWs to public health.  In APHA, she has served as both leader of the Policy Committee of the CHW SPIG, as well as a governing councilor.  She is a founding member of both the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW) and the American Association of Community Health Workers (AACHW).  Her vision has inspired CHWs across the country to better advocate for the needs of the communities they serve.  Ms. Hirsch credits Ms. Holderby for contributing to the inclusion of community health workers in Massachusetts’ 2006 landmark health care reform legislation.


As Ms. Holderby prepares to assume leadership of the CHW SPIG, the SPIG invites all APHA members to join us in honoring her at the Public Health Awards Reception and Ceremony, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28th at the San Diego Convention Center.  The recognition of Ms. Holderby’s unique vision, dedication and leadership serves as an inspiration to CHWs and CHW advocates across the country.



Sixth Annual Vision y Compromiso Conference

by Maria Lemus


Vision y Compromiso a  501(c)3 organization and its Promotora/Community Health Worker Network are committed to creating and sustaining a statewide, consumer-driven approach to promoting the health of Latina/os by supporting and integrating the work of and Promotoras and Community Health Workers (P/CHW’s).  


It is because of this reason that we are convening 1000 Promotoras and Community Health Workers from throughout the 10 regions that the Network serves, delegations from other states, and Mexico at the Sixth Annual Hacia Una Vida Digna y Sana Promotora/Community Health Worker Conference. This convening will provide P/CHW’s with the opportunity to continue developing their leadership skills, build their capacity as critical resources to the communities that they serve and provide them the opportunity to network and share best practices. This convening will take place December 5-6, 2008 in Los Angeles.


Last year’s conference convened nearly 1000 P/CHW’s from throughout the state of California, Arizona, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, New York and Baja California. For many, this was the first time that they had the opportunity to network and share their work with their peers and to take part of the larger community of Promotoras. Through plenaries and workshops, the participants of this conference learned new skills and knowledge that strengthened their capacity to continue serving the tens of thousands of individuals and families throughout the United States, Latin America and beyond.  


For more information, call/Para mas información comuníquese con:

Isalia Zumaya (213) 202-5359



CHWs and Health Care Reform in Massachusetts


by Rebekah Gowler, MSW


The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has made great strides in promoting a sustainable community health worker (CHW) program in the state through its implementation of Section 110 of Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006 (health care reform). Section 110 requires MDPH to convene a statewide advisory council comprised of 14 named organizations to conduct an investigation of the CHW workforce in Massachusetts and develop recommendations related to CHW training and certification and expanded financing options for CHW positions. The investigation findings and recommendations are being written into a legislative report, which is being submitted to the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.


To date, the MDPH and its advisory council have completed the investigation of the CHW workforce, finalized its recommendations, and are nearing completion of the full legislative report. The investigation included an online survey of CHW employers across the state, an internal survey of MDPH programs that support CHWs, a literature review of CHW research, key informant interviews with CHW leaders and best practice programs from across the country, MDPH-sponsored regional focus groups of CHWs, and supplemental information from regional town meetings on CHW training and certification conducted by the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW). Recommendations for a sustainable CHW program are made in four areas: 1) a statewide identity campaign for the profession of community health worker; 2) stronger workforce development, including a statewide training infrastructure and certification; 3) expanded financing options through public and private funds; and 4) an administrative infrastructure to ensure implementation of the recommendations.


Section 110 is one of a number of provisions in Massachusetts’ landmark health care reform legislations that aim to address racial and ethnic health disparities in the state’s health care system. Evidence supporting CHWs’ efficacy in reducing health disparities, as well as promoting health reform’s goal of increasing access to care for all residents, is central to the MDPH report. In addition to this evidence, the report defines and describes the workforce, presents outcome, effectiveness and cost data from the investigation, details challenges to workforce development, and outlines its recommendations for a sustainable CHW program. MDPH plans to release the report to the legislature in fall of 2008 and will continue to work closely with key stakeholders to support and advance the CHW workforce throughout the health and human service systems in Massachusetts.

1st Community Health Worker Conference in Michigan a Success


by Maria Alvarez deLopez

“I am proud to be a CHW” exclaimed Yvonne Neal, CHW from Grand Rapids, Michigan.





The first Community Health Worker Conference: “Reflections and Strategies for Your Future” was hosted by Spectrum Health Healthier Communities in Grand Rapids Michigan. More than 100 participants attended the conference, most from various cities in Michigan which include; Ann Arbor, Detroit, Bangor, Redford, Lansing, Holland and Muskegon. Others came as far as Chicago and Minnesota.  





Sergio Matos CHW from New York presented an awe-inspiring keynote address.  Sergio asked members of the audience to help with a skit which illustrated the rich history of Community Health Workers. 




Samirz Hernandez, Sonia Rivera Ramos, Jo Carnavale

CHWs were awed when they heard the powerful narratives of the CHW's who came before them.


Roshawnda Thompson, CHW II from Grand Rapids, Michigan read the Proclamation which was signed from George Heartwell, Mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan. A proclamation is a formal public announcement. Mayor Heartwell, signed the proclamation recognizing CHW’s contribution and declaring the 2nd week of June as CHW appreciation.  Roshawnda encouraged CHWs to go back to their cities and create a proclamation which would recognize CHWs.


The conference offered an opportunity for participants to understand the roles, responsibilities and unique contributions of CHW’s; and also provided a platform for networking and professional development. Conference participants were eagerly asking organizers about details for CHW Conference 2009.  A special thanks to Michigan Public Health Training Center and Grand Rapids Community College for supporting the Community Health Worker conference.



Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers Holds 2nd Annual Meeting: September 10, 2008 Proclaimed Community Health Worker Day!

by Lisa Renee Holderby and Cindy Marti, MPH


SHREWSBURY , MA – On Wednesday, September 10, 2008, community health workers and their allies took part in the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers’ (MACHW) Second Annual Meeting.  The theme of the meeting focused on the critical role that community health workers play in eliminating health disparities.  Governor Deval Patrick issued a proclamation declaring a second Community Health Worker Day in Massachusetts, coinciding with the annual meeting. Governor Patrick acknowledged that community health workers are public health professionals who serve a unique role in improving access to health care and reducing health disparities. Additionally the proclamation urged all Massachusetts residents to acknowledge the work of CHWs and our dedication to the neighborhoods and communities we serve.


The MACHW annual meeting was titled, “Eliminating Health Disparities From Pittsfield to Provincetown.Pittsfield is in the western region of the state and Provincetown is located on the most eastern tip of Cape Cod.   It is extremely timely, as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Community Health Worker Advisory Council has completed a report highlighting the role of CHWs in the effort to eliminate health disparities. The report was mandated in the MA health care reform law passed in 2006 and contains recommendations to sustain the CHW workforce in Massachusetts.  MACHW is hopeful the Governor will see the report and its recommendations favorably, in light of his proclamation. 


The meeting program consisted of speakers and presenters on the topic.  Judith Kurland, Chief of Staff to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, served as the keynote speaker.  She reminded participants about the vital role community health workers (CHWs) play in the health care system and in the elimination of health disparities. Ms. Kurland acknowledged that the contributions of CHWs to the public’s health often go unrecognized. To gain recognition, efforts must be made to improve documentation of the work of CHWs to prove to funders that CHWs are effective and contain costs. Ms. Kurland is one of the original founders of Healthy Cities/Healthy Communities in the United States. Her career in both government and the not-for-profit sector has sought to promote social and economic justice through community development. She formerly was the Regional Director for the United States Department of Health and Human Services during the second Clinton administration.


Luci Leonard and Octavio Hernandez, a team of community health workers at Community Health Programs in the Berkshires, were the CHW featured speakers. They reiterated the vital role CHWs play in eliminating health disparities and improving the health of communities. The CHW team highlighted some of their outreach strategies including being persistent and consistent with community members, staying up to date on changes in health reform regulations, utilizing technology to maximize efficiency, and collaborating with other agencies to create innovative solutions to help their clients. Ms. Leonard explained that their team approach of pairing an RN with a CHW improves their outreach efforts. In addition to presenting, the CHW team was also acknowledged as recipients of the Community Health Worker Leadership Award. 


In addition, other community health worker champions were honored for their tireless efforts to advance the field. Senator Dianne Wilkerson and Representative Byron Rushing each received awards as Legislative Champions for their leadership in promoting the role of community health workers in the elimination of health disparities. Furthermore, a teen empowerment organization based in Lowell, the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC), received the CHW Outstanding Employer award for their outstanding support of community health worker staff by supporting their professional development, developing opportunities for career pathways, and empowering their CHW staff to influence the direction and governance of the organization. Finally, Suzanne Baroni, of Signature Health-Brockton Hospital, received the CHW Supervisor Award for her supportive commitment as a supervisor to CHWs by understanding the role and importance of her CHW staff, working to integrate CHWs into the health delivery team, and being supportive of her CHWs accessing trainings and classes that enhance their work.


When asked about the significance of the day, Lisa Renee Holderby, Executive Director of MACHW, said, “This has been an amazing day. Community health workers from all corners of the Commonwealth came together to share experiences, resources and be acknowledged for their unique role in promoting health equity. We look forward to the continued integration of CHWs in efforts to eliminate health disparities across the Commonwealth.  Congratulations to the award recipients who have made such strong contributions in this area of public health.”



Unity 2008 held June 16-19 in Albuquerque

by Susan Mayfield-Johnson


Community health workers from 28 states, the District of Columbia, and seven Native American Nations/Tribes attended The Center for Sustainable Health Outreach’s annual Unity Conference June 16-19, 2008 at the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The conference attracted more than 225 participants, the majority of whom were Community Health Workers (CHWs).




The Unity 2008 Conference theme, “Community Health Workers: The Winds of Change—From Grass Roots to Ground Breaking Public Health Professionals” noted the necessity of a professionally recognized and respected field for community health workers, especially as they strive to meet the demands of a changing health care system, decreased funding, and increasingly diverse populations. 


On the first day, Unity 2008 opened with a breathtaking cultural prayer and dance performed by Jackie Bird and her two sons, Gordon and Sheldon, of the Dakota-Hidatsa Tribe of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Co-Directors, Jackie Scott and Susan Mayfield-Johnson, then welcomed participants to Unity 2008 and emphasized that Community Health Workers must realize that there is power in unity.   In her opening welcome greeting, Jackie Scott discussed how we could learn some important lessons from geese (excerpted from Angeles Arrien). 


Fact 1 – As each goose flaps its wings, it creates “uplift” for the birds that follow.  By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: People who share a common direction and a sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier if they are traveling on the thrust of one another.


Fact 2 – When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone.  It quickly moves to the back of the formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go.  We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.


Fact 3 – When the lead goose is tired, it rotates back into the formation, and another goose flies to the point position. 

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership.  As with geese, people are interdependent on each others’ skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, and resources. 


Fact 4 – The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep their speed.

Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging.  In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater.  The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s own heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.


Fact 5 – When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it.  They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again.  Then they launch out with another formation or catch up to the flock.

Lesson:  If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.


The first plenary session highlighted at least ten different local, state, and national Community Health Worker networks and coalitions.  The American Association of Community Health Workers then shared their progress, including the formal and official adoption of the mission, vision, bylaws, and code of ethics.  The final plenary session had Community Health Workers and supporters engaging in a lively discussion around CHW credentialing and legislation.


Day Two consisted of several skill-building and breakout workshops.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered an 8-hour intensive skill-building workshop on Using a Training-of-Trainers Model to Prepare Community Health Workers/Promoters to Use the Road to Health Toolkit on Primary Prevention of Type II Diabetes.  Participants received preliminary copies of the toolkit to take back to their communities.  Also offered was a 6-hour intensive Krav Maga self-defense workshop.  Krav Maga (Hebrew for "contact combat") has been recognized as the most efficient self-defense system for real-life situations, emphasizing practical defenses against real attacks. Based on simple principles and instinctive movements, this reality-based system is designed to teach real self-defense in the shortest possible time. Participants learned to defend against common chokes and grabs from all angles, punches and kicks, and weapons such as guns, knives, and sticks. Also emphasized is how to function under the stress, shock and adrenaline rush of a sudden, violent encounter. 


Breakout sessions on advocacy and training were presented, and skill-building sessions on understanding PowerPoint, how people realistically change, and incorporating health messages through song and dance were also offered.  Poster presentations were tendered, followed by two introductory dance sessions, Latin Dance and Samoan Dance.


The evening reception was set outside in the courtyard, against the backdrop of the setting sun on the Sandia Mountains.  After Milta Franco was honored with the Esther M. Holderby Dedicated CHW Award, dancing and karaoke broke out under the evening stars.


The final day of Unity 2008 consisted of several skill-building sessions.  All day intensive sessions on Using a Training-of-Trainers Model to Prepare Community Health Workers/Promoters to Use the Road to Health Toolkit on Primary Prevention of Type II Diabetes and Krav Maga were repeated, and four ½ day skill building sessions, the Power of Learning: Gain the Skills to Really Go Red, Incorporating Basic Sign Language Vocabulary for Your Clients, Basic Tobacco Cessation Intervention Certification, Presentation and Facilitation Skills, and Creating A Code of Ethics for CHWs: Policy and Practice were offered. 


Conference evaluations noted excellent speakers and sessions.  Conference participants appreciated the change of location to the western side of the United States, and many reflected on the diversity of the conference participants. While many did not feel that there were enough out-of-conference activities, several conference participants snuck in hot air balloon rides and sessions of white water rafting in nearby Taos to end their New Mexican Unity experience.  Announcements for Unity 2009 are forthcoming.   Look for the Mark Your Calendar Postcards and Call for Abstracts as we celebrate Unity’s 10th Year Anniversary.



The Community Health Worker’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Sourcebook


by J. Nell Brownstein, Ph.D.


Good news: a new resource will be soon be available to you on CDC's website:  In the United States, community health workers (CHWs) help us meet our national Healthy People goals by conducting community-level activities and interventions that promote health and prevent diseases and disability. CHWs are trusted, respected members of the community who serve as a bridge between their community members and professionals in the field of health and human services. They provide an important service by establishing and improving relationships between these professionals and members of the community. As lay community health educators and role models, CHWs promote, encourage, and support positive, healthful self-management behaviors among their peers. As community advocates, CHWs help people get the services and follow-up care they need. CHWs serve as patient and community advocates, as “coaches” for disease management, and as patient “navigators,” guiding patients through the health care system. They also strengthen their community’s understanding and acceptance of medical care. The recognition of their successes, by the Institute of Medicine and others, has led to recommendations that CHWs be included as members of health care teams to help eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care.


“The Community Health Workers Sourcebook: a Training Manual for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention” is the first comprehensive cardiovascular training curriculum for community health workers (CHWs) and other lay people. The sourcebook offers basic information and activities to increase CHW skills in preventing heart disease and stroke. The sourcebook covers topics across the spectrum of heart disease and stroke that are essential for the education and promotion of disease self-management for community members.


The sourcebook is a resource that builds on strong partnerships between the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies and organizations. The sourcebook reflects the latest research and national guidelines on heart disease and stroke and their prevention.


This resource will be helpful to you in many ways, including training staff at your agency and in partnership with other agencies and organizations.  We hope that your will introduce the Sourcebook to your partners.  We thank you for your interest in this new resource and we welcome feedback on your experiences in putting it to use.


We  have a very limited number of hard copies of the sourcebook, but we plan to make English language version available on CDC’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Health Web site in the near future. We are in the process of translating the Sourcebook into Spanish and pilot-testing it.  Then we will place the Spanish version on our website.


Please send your comments and questions on this sourcebook to:

J. Nell Brownstein, Ph.D.

Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

770 488-2570


Dr. Brownstein’s e-mail address is Visit our Web site at





CHW Association and Network Corner: Community Health Workers 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.


State and National CHW Associations and Networks



      For more information or to join, please contact Co-Chairs Durrell Fox and

      Pam Chapman (  or )


      Staff contacts at the Harrison Institute for Public Law at the Georgetown

      University Law Center are Jackie Scott, (202) 662-4229,  or Sara Hoverter, (202) 662-4233, .



      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;

      (510) 232-7869; (510) 231-9954 fax; 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 or  



      Community Outreach Workers Association of Maryland, INC. (COWAM), 259

      North Lanvale Street, Baltimore, Md. 21217, (410) 664-6949 or (410)

      669-7960, Carol Payne, (410) 962-2520 (ext. 3062).



      Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW), Lisa Renee

      Holderby, Executive Director,, (617)524-6696 x102.



      Michigan Community Advocate Association (MICAA), Contact: Maria Alvarez

      deLopez, ; President-Roshawnda S.

      Thompson - ; (616) 356-6205 or (616) 827-2094 or (616)




      Minnesota CHW Peer Network out of the Minnesota International Health

      Volunteers, 122 W. Franklin Ave. #522, Minneapolis, MN 55404, Contacts:

      LuAnn Werner (612) 230-3255, Andrea Leinberger (612)

      230-3254 . Chair - Grace Anderson, ; Co-Chair -- Anita Buel -



Community Health Worker Institute, NJ AHEC/ UMDNJ-SOM, 42 Laurel Road E., STE. 3200 Stratford, NJ 08084.  Contact: Carol Wolff, (856) 963-2432 ext. 202.  The New Jersey Community Health Worker Institute is NOT considered a Network or an Association but, it supports and sponsors the NJ CHW Clusters that are now meeting to discuss the strategy for building into a statewide network or association. NJCHWI provide the clusters technical assistants, resources such as coordinating meeting locations, materials and social items and events and trainings for the CHWs.




      New Mexico Community Health Workers Association (NMCHWA), P.O. Box 81433,

      Albuquerque, New Mexico 87198, Web page can be accessed

      at .  Telephone number is (505) 255-1227 and fax (505)

      873-5317; or contact BJ Ciesielski, , (505)

      272-4741; fax (505) 272-5944.



      NEW YORK CITY -Community Health Worker Network of NYC; 425 E. 25 Street,

      Box 616; New York, NY 10010; (212) 304-6415; Sergio Matos, Romy

      Corvacho; ; .


ROCHESTER - Rochester Outreach Workers Association (ROWA), Latisha

Williams, Chair, 585-274-8490; ; Lucinda

          Colindres, (585) 244-9000, ex. 454.




Ohio Community Health Workers Association, Vivian Anderson, President, (616) 466-2247,




      Oregon Community Health Workers Association, 9000 N. Lombard Street--2nd

      Floor, Portland, OR 97203, 503-988-3366 x28686, Teresa Ríos,, or Veronica Lopez Ericksen,, or  Noelia Wiggins, Director Community

      Capacitation Center - (503) 988-3366.



      Washington Community Health Worker Network

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

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

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 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 2008 Community Health Worker SPIG Executive Council



      Sergio Matos 

      Community Health Worker Network of NYC

      (212) 304-6415


       Chair-Elect/Governing Council Representative

      Lisa Renee Holderby

      Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers

      (617) 524-6696 x102


       Immediate Past Chair/Governing Council Representative

      Durrell Fox

      New England HIV Education Consortium

      Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers

      23 Miner Street

      Boston, MA 02215

      (617) 262-5657



      Carl Rush

      (210) 745-0560


      Treasurer and Co-Program Planner

      Susan Mayfield-Johnson

      University of Southern Mississippi

      (601) 266-6266      


       Program Planner 2008

      Anne Willaert

      Minnesota State University

      4 Myers Field House

      Mankato, MN 56001

      (507) 389-2590      


      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) 391-6052


      Chairperson, Committee on Education y Capacitación

      Romelia Corvacho

      Community Premier Plus

      384 E. 149th Street Suite 504

      Bronx, NY 10455

      (718) 630-3201             


      Liaison to Other APHA Sections, SPIGs and Caucuses

      Tori Booker

      Migrant Health Promotion

      224 W. Michigan Ave.

      Saline, MI 48176

      (734) 944-0244        


      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 Hirsch

      Massachusetts Department of Public Health

      Boston, MA 02108

      Phone: (617) 624-6016        


      Membership and Recruitment

      Dwyan Monroe


        Special Advisor

      E. Lee Rosenthal

      (915) 747-8233