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Community Health Worker - Archived Newsletters
Section Newsletter
Summer 2005

Message from the Chair

June 2005

Dear Colleagues:

Greetings to all and welcome to the CHW SPIG; please read, print out, copy and share this newsletter with many, especially public health professionals such as other CHWs!

CHWs continue to make strides and progress toward further developing our field and workforce. We are gaining respect and recognition for being the public health professionals that we are! Many members of the SPIG and its leadership are involved locally and nationally in CHW-focused advocacy, legislative, workforce development and training initiatives. These initiatives include, but definitely are not limited to, city, state and national legislation development; local and national CHW workforce development studies; and local and national CHW training and certification efforts. It is critical that CHWs continue to do their best to participate in and lead these efforts year round. There are articles about some of these efforts in this edition of the newsletter.

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” I know many of you have heard this before, and I think it is an appropriate way to describe my current outlook on the CHW workforce. I believe we have many CHWs who have a job or are volunteering, who are earning a living wage, who are able to progress in their career as a CHW, who may be doing some consulting, traveling and training for CHW-related initiatives, hence, “it was the best of times.” At the same time there are many CHWs who have to struggle to avoid homelessness because they do not earn a living wage; who work in environments that don’t support or nurture them; who are disconnected from other CHWs and our movement; who do not have the education, degrees, background or professions to fall back on if their program is cut; who struggle to maintain their own health care coverage as they assist others in getting access; who suffer from lack of respect from others in their agencies and burn out; and CHWs who do most of their work on the streets - in the community - and have to constantly justify and defend themselves, hence, “it was the worst of times.”

Usually when you hear me use the term CHW, I’m thinking about the CHW described in the last part of the paragraph above, because I was one of them for 10 years as an outreach worker who did the bulk of my outreach in the housing developments and downtown Boston as part of an innovative at risk nighttime outreach program and drop-in shelter. As we move forward this year with creating a national definition for CHWs, it must capture the essence of all CHWs, whether they enjoy the “best of times” or suffer from the “worst of times.” We are at a critical point in the history of CHWs in the United States; we must capture the essence of the CHW workforce in an appropriate manner that highlights the individuality and uniqueness of our profession so that the world at large can identify who we are and, more importantly, who we are not. If a definition makes it seem that almost anyone working in health and public health is a CHW, then we will lose our uniqueness and essence. Hey, on the othjer hand, I guess we are doing great things if everyone is coming along saying, “I’m a CHW…”

It is of epic importance that all CHWs and their allies and supporters join together in efforts year round to create a sustained supportive environment for CHWs to operate in as we work to eliminate health disparities and increase access to care and services for community wellness. It’s particularly important that we join in organizing local, city and statewide networks that bring CHWs together, since our struggle can only be overcome by the collective work of the many.

As always, I urge all of you to join our SPIG, become active in leadership and share information about the state of CHWs in your city, state, and region. I will be passing the gavel to our new chair during the APHA Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Nov. 6-9, 2005, and I would love to have all of you participate with us during the meeting sessions, receptions and other events the SPIG will host. We need you; we need your support.

Durrell J. Fox
Chair, 2003-2005

Join us for an Exciting CHW Program in New Orleans!

The Community Health Workers Special Primary Interest Group (CHW SPIG) is planning an exciting and full program for APHA 2005! This year’s program features presentations by a majority of frontline Community Health Workers from diverse programs across the United States, including many new presenters. From the south to border communities in the southwest, from urban neighborhoods in New York and Chicago to rural areas in New England and New Mexico, from California, Texas, Georgia, Ohio and Virginia, as well as from some other countries -- this year’s presenters provide a window into the vital role of community health workers in every region of our country.

Our 2005 program presenters include CHWs who reach migrant farm workers with crucial health messages, provide education and support to people living with HIV/AIDS, develop cancer prevention programs, promote health access for asthma and diabetes care, implement innovative new practices in outreach, and work to empower and organize their communities. For the first time, we will be featuring a special panel focused on policy issues for CHWs. Another highlight promises to be the SPIG social program, being planned together with Kingsley House, a local New Orleans CHW program. Stay posted for further information in the fall newsletter.

Eighth Annual National Community Health Workers/Promotoras Conference

The Regional Center for Border Health, Inc./Western Arizona Area Health Education Center (RCBH/WAHEC) is pleased to announce the Eighth Annual National Community Health Workers/Promotoras Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on August 23-26, 2005. The conference will take place in Phoenix’s majestic South Mountain Resort located at 7777 South Pointe Parkway.

For the past seven years, Regional Center for Border Health, Inc. has sponsored and organized the “National Community Health Workers/Promotoras Conference” in collaboration with many local, state, and national organizations with an average of 450 attendees. Last year’s conference was celebrated in Denver, and once again was a tremendous success with more than 350 Community Health Workers/Promotoras in attendance. This year’s conference theme is “Community Emergency Response: Promotoras/ Outreach Workers Network." The conference objectives are to (1) enhance the national network capabilities of Community Outreach Workers/Promotoras programs by participating in the “Lay Health Workers National Network/Red Nacional de Promotoras de Salud”; (2) to learn about effective health education, disease prevention, community strategies, and interventions in community emergency preparedness; and (3) to increase the quality of life and to eliminate health disparities by providing a variety of health educational training and informational sessions that will best prepare Community Outreach Workers to address and meet their communities “Healthy People 2010 Objectives.”

For more information, please contact Maria Jose Almazan at (928) 627-9222 or via e-mail at

Unity 2005

This year’s Unity 2005 Conference, sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Health Outreach and held March 30-April 1 in Gulfport, Miss., proved to be informative, enlightening, and, most of all, FUN. The theme “Community Health Workers: Responding to Challenging Times,” led to a somewhat different meeting format designed to address the current requests, needs and concerns of the CHWs that attended from Alaska to Hawaii. The conference opened with a slide and music montage of CHWs from around the country doing what they do best -- healing their communities.

The conference featured skill building workshops ranging from “Effective Documentation” to “Navigating the Legislative Process.” Plenary sessions were sponsored and conducted by funders, government supporters, allies and CHWs displaying national as well as local CHW programs, trainings, initiatives and various cultural highlights from the Native American community and the Hawaiian delegation. There were also poster sessions that creatively highlighted CHWs programs as well as round table discussions on policy, training, certification and workforce development. The conference hosted 309 CHWs, supporters, partners and allies this year, which proved to be the second largest conference to date with the largest number of states represented this year as well.

Planning for Unity 2006 is in the works. For additional information contact Dwyan Monroe at (410) 522-6500 ext. 256, or

Using Humor and Skits in Community Education

"Look at all these, scat, get away from me! Hey you over there, scarecrow, what's wrong with you? Weren't you placed in this field to scare away the crows?"

Scarecrow replies, "You're right, nurse. I'm such a failure, I can't scare these crows away like I did a year ago. You see I feel tired, my eyesight is bad, I'm thirsty all the time and I have to pee a lot. Oh, can you help me?"

The dialogue continues between Nurse and Scarecrow, revealing the fact that the scarecrow has been stuck up on a pole in a field for many years. Scarecrow has not been able to exercise or eat right. And with all those signs and symptoms, the nurse wants to check his blood sugar because she suspects he might be showing signs of diabetes.

This dialogue is an example of several skits that have been developed by a team of Community Health Representatives who wished to deliver health education with a different twist.

Community Health Representatives are constantly on the go, delivering medications, conducting home visits, visiting community centers, organizing health fairs, acting as client advocates to gather information for elders and transporting clients to their appointments and acting as an interpreter for some of the clients who speak the original tribal languages. CHRs conduct home visits, which in some areas could be miles and miles apart and require travel time. Now you can see why I say the CHRs are always on the go.

Being a CHR I realized how "boring" it can be for a CHR to be required to sit through a straight lecture presentation. In observing CHRs in a classroom setting, one can notice 50 percent napping or nodding off. By no means does this mean the presenter is just means that the CHR is bored due to the fact that they are out of their habitat by being on the move.

The original attempt at this method of teaching began with three Creek Nation CHRs performing an original skit titled "The Do-Bees" which was written toward children. However, to our surprise we were invited to community centers to perform our skit for adults also. The original "Do-Bees" disolved because one "bee" moved away, and not until 2003 did I find another actor who was interested in resurrecting this group. I wrote a skit, "Scarecrow and Nursey," which conveyed in the most simple terms the signs and symptoms of diabetes, explaining diabetes, lifestyle changes and the end result being asking for help to change an unhealthy lifestyle into a healthy lifestyle.

Woody Hansen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is a partner in these skits. Woody has been instrumental in developing new ideas and adding his zaniness to add humor to what is sometimes portrayed as being catastrophic and doomed. Woody and I never intend to poke fun at any situation, however, we as "Indian People" often have our own sense of humor, and we have geared our skits toward this Indian humor. When we have been invited to various tribes, we research and ask for special phrases or gestures which people in that tribe might find amusing to see during a skit. I think I can speak for Woody as well as myself in saying that these skits have been a pleasure to perform, but the end result is our reward. After every skit we have always had people comment that we deliver the message in simple terms that can be understood on all levels, and what we do (our skits) takes away from the feeling of being "doomed." I had one lady say that when she listens to many health professionals and attends session, she often leaves feeling like she has been sentenced to a life of being a sick person. But being able to "escape" into a little laugher and entertainment, she felt like her outlook on her health problems were not so bad after all.

Our skits last approximately seven to 10 minutes, and during this time we are able to cover the most important signs and symptoms and steps to take in prevention. Prevention is our focus when we perform for the youth, therefore our skits are tailored for the age group. To see their smiles and interaction is such a rewarding experience.

I have found this to be a great method of teaching and instructing for people with short attention spans (including the CHR). This is also a group project for a community to develop their own skits and involve culture such as creating artwork for scenery and making costumes. While the "actors" are learning their parts, they are also learning about the subject matter.

We also try to incorporate some native language into our skits, which is encouraged when working with communities as part of language preservation.

I was fortunate enough to attend the UNITY Conference and meet many CHWs. It takes a special person to be a CHR or CHW, and I truly believe that when we observe one of these great people in action, we are most definitely seeing caring and dedication at its finest. The most important aspect of a CHR and CHW is the fact that their characteristics of caring and dedication has not been taught in college or often no Master's Degree hangs on their walls, rather the gift that they possess was born within their hearts. Once as CHR/CHW, always a CHR/CHW!

Cyndi Gilks, Community Health Representative, Creek Nation

Outreach: Defining Who We are and What We are Not

O- Organization of overworked yet outstanding Optimists with oodles (noodles) of oomph that outweigh the ordinary, opinionated, and usually outlandish outsiders. In other words we can see the true colors of the many families we serve, when others just see gray!

U- Unit of unshakeable, unbolting, mostly unarmed, (unless you count the forks that some workers carry) and depending on when you see us, somewhat uncivilized (off the clock, of course) that have united under one title (Outreach Workers) to help many calculate what is underestimated in themselves!

T- Tae Kwon Do, Tai Chi, and Therapy is what you need to do and know if you are an outreach worker, especially after transporting in a temperamental vehicle that has the tendency of overheating/underheating, and sometimes goes through traffic lights that are way past yellow and well into red! The temporary shock that goes through your body after these events alone will leave you with Tension Headaches and a Tic that the likes of Excedrin could not even ease.

R- Rags that you are wearing because the Raise you received was not even enough to repair the small rip in your pant leg. (Unless your co-worker lends you her needle and thread that is in her desk drawer for situations as such). It is for the rascally rebels in the neighborhood in which you did your home visit today, who so roughly ran into your side view mirrors that you no longer need to position them because they are now GONE! However, outreach workers remain reliable and after reality sets in they can restore their senses of reason, and are usually able to recover with some minor regression.

E-Easy-going, effective, and sometimes Eye witness (of office crimes, you know paper knapping, copier ransoms, etc.) It is being able to say “Enough is enough and too much is foolish” to yourself and to your co-workers, or in many cases what has evolved into your Extended family.” But more importantly, E is the Expressways that no outreach worker wants to get on, especially if they are reimbursed for mileage. (We would rather take the long route, even if it means going through 50,000 potholes),

A- Ain’t. Ain’t she pretty? Ain’t this the answer? I Ain’t gonna do it. Ain’t you my worker? I don’t know about you, but I just want to shake em’ -- shake whoever made the word up. And it’s not only our clients, or our program participants who use this lovely word, but agencies and their staff use it to, well anyways, if not the staff the office supplies speak. I was recently at an office that had a stapler in their conference room, on this stapler there were the words, “this ain’t yours.” So as much as I hate ain’t, I would like to say that outreach is so much like the word ain’t because just like ain’t we’ll be around for a long time.

C- Celebrate who you are and what you do even if it that person is a “Caffeine drinking, calendar booking, cell phone talking, case working, copy making, cautionary individual.” And if you are that individual who can’t celebrate your job and the things that you do there first check the mirror to make sure that you are who you think you are, then check the Help Wanted ads and begin searching for a new career.

H- which is where the heat of Outreach comes from THE HEART. Realize that all people are different and that everyone needs a little assistance some time or another. Remember that life is like a puzzle broken into small pieces that you begin thinking you’ll complete in no time, but always can use a little help to finally make the whole thing complete.

Valerie Heard
Thoughts Unlimited

Contact information:
Valerie Heard
Case Worker/Outreach Coordinator
Healthy Start Rochester
819 W. Main Street
Rochester, N.Y. 14611

Strategy Sessions for the Development of a National CHW Association

Development of a national association for and by CHWs has been on the “things to do” list for many CHWs, allies, partners and supporters. Since 1995 I have been involved in and facilitated meetings and discussions about the need for, and design and intent of a CHW national association. A decade of this involvement has helped me put a lot of things in perspective and make a lot of observations -- some negative, but mostly positive. Many of us know of or have spent time talking about the challenges behind why after all this time, these dialogues, the studies… there still is no active, member driven, CHW-led association that is inclusively national in scope and depth with resources to impact the entire country.

We are engaged in a CHW movement of epic proportions (Lorenza from Texas referred to it as the “CHW revolution”). I feel this is real, and there are many signs on many levels to back this theory up (concurrent state and federal legislative initiatives; national and statewide CHW workforce and training studies; and the development of a national CHW definition that could also serve as the foundation for an official professional classification with the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Even as some CHWs, allies and partners have been moving forward shaping a national association, we have had many stops and starts during my involvement. Due to the many demands CHWs experience from multiple directions and levels, some CHW activists and leaders have had to vary their level of involvement in designing and developing a national association. Many of us are working hard to sustain our efforts on a local level, while also tackling the priorities of the demanding roles and duties of a CHW. We navigate and inform communities and service systems daily (public health, health care, and other human and social services) as we weigh the needs of our clients, jobs, families, communities and increase access and work to eliminate health disparities.

During Unity 2005, as we did at Unity 2001-2004, CHWs from across the country participated in a CHW national association strategy session to further discuss the development and design needed in the formation of a national CHW association. The strategy session was held to focus on developing concrete tasks and next steps toward establishing a truly national CHW association that can become the center of a strong national voice for all CHWs. The objective is to develop this national organization as a CHW led, directed and operated independent organization which focuses on the needs and issues of CHWs, and always keeps those needs and issues as its primary focus. We revisited questions regarding the structure, location, mission, priorities and day-to-day functions for this organization. I feel strongly that the national association needs to be a membership organization that should look to city, state, regional and national networks as primary members with options for organizational and individual membership. These networks would be the foundation of the national association, which would need infrastructure development and a mixture of in-kind and funded support efforts.

There were four stated goals for the meeting:

  • Design a plan of action and next steps for developing an inclusive, active national association for and by CHWs.
  • Build consensus on whether to support and move forward with a proposal on the table from Jackie Scott of CSHO (based at the Harrison Law Institute of Georgetown University).
  • Look for inclusion, feedback and participation from the formed and emerging CHW networks and associations that have representatives at the meeting.
  • Build on the work from the last four meetings (use the templates, documents, notes and presentations, as well as Jackie’s proposal, to guide the process).
During the meeting, Dywan Monroe and I facilitated discussion. We presented some history and background behind our organizing meetings, and we heard from veterans of the CHW movement and meetings, as well as from those attending and involved for the first time. Handouts of PowerPoint presentations from past national association meetings were circulated. Cindy Norris gave us a brief history of the National Association of Community Health Representatives (NACHR) and a description of their structure and design. Wandy Hernandez discussed the National Lay Health Workers/Promotores National Network, Inc. and its governance structure, board of directors and annual conference. Lucia Colindres described the Rochester Outreach Workers Association (ROWA). Jackie Scott discussed a funding proposal she drafted based on the notes from the past meetings and from her work with the CSHO Advisory committee, which includes many leaders in the movement (CHWs, allies, partners, supporters and funders). She summarized key points and presented an excellent history, paying homage to work of the past meeting participants and people truly involved in the movement to create an inclusive, independent national CHW association.

Next steps included asking CHW networks or associations that are already formed if they would be interested in developing and joining a national association of CHWs. The representatives from CHW networks and associations and many areas of the country included:

  • Massachusetts Community Health Network (MACHW - representatives from across MA)
  • Community Health Worker (CHW) Special Primary Interest Group (SPIG) of American Public Health Association (APHA) – representatives from across the country
  • National Association of Community Health Representatives (NACHR)
  • Lay Health Workers/Promotores National Network
  • Community Health Worker Network of New York City
  • Rochester Outreach Workers Association ( ROWA-NY)
  • Michigan Community Advocates Association (MICAA)
  • Community Health Worker/Promotores Network of California
  • REACH Workers – the Community Health Workers of Tampa Bay (Florida)
  • Arizona Community Health Outreach Workers Network (AzCHOW)
  • Virginia Center Health Outreach (VCHO)
  • Community Outreach Workers Association of Maryland (COWAM - Baltimore area CHWs)
  • Community Health Worker Training Program, Hawaii Primary Care Association
  • CHW/Promotores Network (California)
  • Arkansas
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Washington, D.C. (Georgetown)
During the summer, I will have more conversations and e-mail communications with Jackie Scott of CSHO leading to communications with key contacts of all of the identified CHW networks and associations. I will coordinate a conference call to take place in July. My hope is that representatives from all CHW networks and associations will be invited to participate. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this CHW association strategy session update, please e-mail Durrell Fox at

Multistate Meeting: State-level Supporting Groups Meet

A ground-breaking multi-state meeting took place in New Jersey on June 2-3 involving a total of eight states. Participants included four practicing CHWs as well as state government, higher education and AHEC representatives.

The purpose of the meeting, which was at the invitation of New Jersey AHEC, was to outline functions which state-level supporting organizations can perform to help advance the CHW field. With the exception of Minnesota, all states were in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Jacqueline Scott, co-director of CSHO, also participated in part of the meeting by telephone.

There was strong interest at this meeting in pursuing some joint activities. Only four of the states (VA, NJ, MA and MN) have staffed, funded statewide supporting organizations. The participants expressed interest in a joint leadership development workshop for CHWs and regional collaboration on standards development. There was also interest in a national collaboration to “build the business case” for CHWs.

For more information contact Carl Rush, New Jersey CHW Institute, (856) 566-6024 or

MACHW Scores a Victory for CHWs in Massachusetts

Recently the Massachusetts Community Health Worker (MACHW) Network and all CHWs in Massachusetts reached a milestone with the successful filing of our first CHW-authored legislation entitled, An Act Providing For Investigation And Study By The Department Of Public Health Relative To Community Health Workers (House # 2751).

This milestone was achieved through hard work and research by three MACHW board members, with technical assistance from Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) and some key legislative allies. The primary authors were two CHWs -- Lisa Renee Siciliano of MPHA and Durrell Fox of the New England HIV Education Consortium (NEHEC). They are also the current and immediate past chairs, respectively, of MACHW and were joined by another MACHW board member and Geoff Wilkinson, executive director of MPHA. State Representative Gloria Fox, the bill’s lead sponsor, and her legislative staff gave valuable technical assistance and insight. The filing last fall of the “CHW bill” also propelled MACHW into a position to coordinate several initiatives focused on creating a supportive environment for the sustainability, further growth and development of the CHW profession and CHWs in Massachusetts.

During June 2005, the Massachusetts legislative joint Public Health Committee held a hearing for our legislation that featured testimony from a panel that included our lead legislative sponsor, MACHW chair and board members, a representative from the City of Boston’s health department and representatives from Massachusetts’ two largest public health and health care advocacy organizations. The next step for our legislation is to be released from the committee to the full house. All CHWs and their allies, partners and supporters must stay vigilant to keep the movement and progress advancing.

MACHW is spearheading a CHW advocacy agenda that includes:

  • CHW legislation (House #2751) and legislative outreach and education initiatives.
  • "CHWs Advocating for Access” Project (CHW AAP), which coordinates advocacy and policy workshops and training opportunities to enhance advocacy skills and power within CHWs and our allies and partners. These efforts are supported by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.
  • Developing a CHW Advocacy toolkit, which builds upon the CHW AAP initiative and provides valuable policy and advocacy tools and information.
  • Participating on the steering committee for the “Affordable Care Today!” Campaign and Legislation (House #2777, Senate #738). We assisted in drafting the CHW section of legislation.
  • Participating in the development and dissemination of the Massachusetts CHW Survey report entitled, “Community Health Workers: Essential to Improving Health in Massachusetts,” released in May 2005 by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
  • Involvement in and support of the Outreach Worker Training Institute of the Central Massachusetts AHEC.
  • MACHW leadership also serve as leadership within the CHW National Education Collaborative(CHW-NEC) and National CHW Workforce Development Study advisory boards.
  • Members of the MACHW leadership team stay active year round in the APHA Community Health Worker Special Primary Interest Group (CHW-SPIG). The outgoing chairs of the CHW SPIG and its policy committee, as well as the newsletter editor are from MACHW.
In Massachusetts, CHWs have become increasingly active in legislative advocacy, and in health care access and public health coalitions (including the MassHealth Defense, United We Stand for Public Health and Critical MASS for Eliminating Health Disparities). CHWs in Massachusetts were instrumental in drafting a community outreach section of the Health Now! Legislation in 2000, which would have brought valuable, much-needed resources to CHWs. Health Now! proposed to increase the tobacco tax in Massachusetts (along with similar increases in each New England state, an initiative led by the Alliance for a Healthy New England) and use the revenues to fund public health and access to care programs. Even though the tobacco tax was increased in our state, the revenues were used to help decrease the growing deficit. None of the revenues went to community outreach or CHWs, but MACHW learned a valuable lesson in the legislative and coalition-building processes. Unfortunately, many of the lessons learned by CHWs regarding the development of legislation have been disheartening, as some of the processes for developing laws/legislation that directly impact the CHW workforce have not fully involved CHWs in leadership roles from inception to implementation on all levels. We have found that the best way to take leadership is to develop our own legislation by partnering with legislative allies and advocacy partners such as MPHA.

We strive to build the advocacy power of CHWs by providing training programs and technical assistance to CHWs, CHW allies and –- partners, CHW supervisors, policy makers and other community members. We focus our efforts on working with CHWs to find creative ways to build health and human services access and public health advocacy into their regular activities and vocabulary. We have the power to change the public health and human service delivery systems in our state. Because of the role we play in the community, we have a unique vantage point and view of these systems. We must continue to share this knowledge with policy-makers and community gatekeepers so these systems can be shaped to better fit the needs of our clients and communities.

MACHW is proud to demonstrate an example of a truly CHW-led legislative initiative. We feel this is critical to the growth and development of CHWs in our state and throughout the country.
For more information about MACHW please visit our link on MPHA’s Web site:

Promotor Profile: Juan Cruz, Teen Health Aide

“It was cool just knowing -- knowing that you could help people out. Being an Infórmate Teen Health Aide had a strong effect on my life. Now, I want to keep on going.”
-Juan Cruz

Juan Cruz served as a Teen Health Aide at DuRussels’ Potato Farms in Michigan and in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. He was born in Florida, lived in Mexico until he was seven and then moved to Texas, where his family still lives. Juan started migrating to Michigan to work in agriculture as a teenager. He migrated with neighbors for two years while his parents remained in Texas with his brother and sister.

Juan worked in the packing shed at DuRussels’ the first year he came to work in Michigan. That year, the working hours prevented him from getting involved as a Teen Health Aide. The next year, though, he worked out a schedule with his boss so that he could attend the Infórmate (inform yourself) Teen Health Program trainings and activities, and he was selected to be a Teen Health Aide.

At first, Juan did not think that being a Teen Health Aide was “anything big.” Soon, however, he began involving camp residents in the Infórmate activities and providing them with valuable information and education. Juan says the most important thing about being a Teen Health Aide is “knowing that you could help someone out.” Juan’s involvement in the program also benefited him when one of his program coordinators talked to him about the importance of college and how to apply.

During the winter months of his senior year in high school, Juan became a Teen Health Aide in Migrant Health Promotion’s program in Texas. When describing his experience as an actor with the Teen Theater Troupe, Juan explained: “The acting was hard in the beginning, but then I got used to it.” Through the Theater Troupe, Juan and the Teen Health Aides taught their peers about HIV and AIDS in a creative, dynamic way.

The passion for education and working with others that Juan gained as a Teen Health Aide continues to drive his pursuit of higher education. Juan currently studies agricultural business management at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., and he is specializing in Latin American/Caribbean international relations. Juan plans to continue his education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration or a law degree. His long-term goals include running an agricultural business and working in international trade. In keeping with his role of Teen Health Aide, he is working to convince his brother and sister to attend college.

CHW Network Corner

In this regular newsletter feature, the CHW SPIG highlights the ongoing organizing efforts of CHWs across the country at all levels –- local, state, and national. This information helps CHW networks share organizing experiences and strategies, and will enhance the national CHW movement. We urge all active SPIG members to contact their local networks and get involved!

We recognize the enormous efforts of CHWs that are making this happen, and we also know that this is only a partial list. If you know of other CHW networks, please let us know! Contact Newsletter Editor Gail Ballester, at or (617) 624-6016.

Spotlight on Michigan: Michigan Community Advocate Association (MICAA) is celebrating Community Advocate Appreciation week on June 14, 2005 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Mayor Heartwell signed a proclamation two years ago. They plan to ask the governor this year for a statewide proclamation. Contact Maria Alvarez de Lopez at

State and National CHW Networks


Arizona Community Health Outreach Workers Network (AzCHOW), Of, By, and For Community Health Outreach Workers;;
Lours 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

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

Community Health Worker Training Program, Hawaii Primary Care Association, Napualani Spock, Coordinator, P.O. Box 264, Pu'unene, HI 96784, Ph: (808) 280-0984; Fax: (808) 573-0734;

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, chair,, (508) 791-5893, c/o Massachusetts Public Health Association, 434 Jamaicaway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Michigan Community Advocate Association (MICAA), Contact:President-Roshawnda S. Thompson -; (616) 356-6205 or (616) 827-2094 or (616) 366-2759

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

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 phone; Sergio Matos, Elena Schwolsky, Rita Taylor, and Romy Rodriguez;

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

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

CHW SPIG Committee Reports

Membership Committee Update: Dwyan Monroe
The membership committee is looking forward to meeting and signing up new members for the CHW SPIG during this year’s APHA Annual Meeting in New Orleans. We plan to canvass and outreach to other members at large during the meeting. We are still in the development phase of constructing a solid letter to foundations for further funding and support that will allow CHWs to attend the meeting.

Each Committee member has been charged with contacting their local public health organizations and soliciting support, new ideas, and funding strategies for developing a membership agenda among CHWs who are a part of APHA. We will also be focusing on boosting membership at the special CHW sessions and other affiliate member caucuses and sessions. We look forward to a very productive APHA meeting and would like to reach our goal of 50 new members there. If you have any further suggestions or ideas for the Membership Committee, please feel free to contact me, Dwyan Monroe, (410) 664-6949

Policy Committee Update: Lisa Renee Siciliano 

SPIG Policy Committee Welcomes A New Chair

The Policy Committee would like to take this opportunity to welcome Maria Alvarez de Lopez as its new chair. Maria has been the co-chair of the policy committee for several months. Last month during the committee’s monthly call the reins were officially passed from Lisa Renee Siciliano to Maria. Lisa Renee has been the Policy Committee chair since its inception during the 2003 APHA Annual Meeting. She will remain a Policy Committee member and represent the SPIG on Governing Council for the 2005 meeting.

Maria has been instrumental in moving the CHW definition work of the committee forward. She assisted with the development of the CHW Definition Form, which was piloted at the Center for Sustainable Health Outreach’s Unity 2005. The form is designed to gather input from individual CHWs and supporters as well as CHW organizations. In addition to urging CHWs to fill out the definition form while in Mississippi, she was also a presenter during Unity 2005 last March.

Maria is a CHW at Spectrum Health Systems in Michigan. She is active in her local CHW organization and has been an active policy committee member for the past year. Maria has drive, an interest in policy affecting CHWs and strong leadership skills. The SPIG Policy Committee is excited to officially welcome her.

A special thanks to those members who take time out of their busy days to participate on the committee. If you have an interest in policy issues that affect CHWs, please consider giving some of yourself; join the Policy Committee. New ideas are always welcome. For additional information regarding the Policy Committee or the definition form, please contact Maria Alvarez de Lopez at

Highlights on other SPIGs, Sections or Relevant Organizations: Carl Rush

The SPIG Executive Board last Fall encouraged creation of closer linkages with other APHA Sections and SPIGs. It is believed that closer collaboration with key groups within APHA will raise our visibility and increase support for issues important to CHWs.

A number of individuals volunteered to help during the 2005 APHA Annual Meeting. In some cases these individuals are already members of the other Sections or SPIGs.

A new SPIG Section Liaison Committee has been formed, co-chaired by Tori Booker (Michigan) and Carl Rush (New Jersey). The Committee is looking for additional volunteers.

Tori and Carl are suggesting that each volunteer will do the following for one Section, SPIG or Caucus, maintaining communication with Tori and Carl as Executive Board contacts:
  1. Introduce herself/himself to Section Caucus leader(s) and encourage them to communicate on issues where interests overlap.
  2. Monitor Section/SPIG/Caucus activity no less than once a month via their Web site, newsletter and discussion groups, and bring back to the Committee any issues where action appears needed.
  3. Approach their assigned Section/Caucus leadership with any issues or actions identified by the Executive Board where we are asking for support, or supporting/opposing an action of that Section/SPIG/Caucus .
  4. Attend Section/SPIG/Caucus business meeting at APHA if possible, or send an alternate, and report back to the Committee on items of interest.
The top priority Sections identified by the Committee are: Public Health Education and Health Promotion; Public Health Nursing; Community Health Planning and Policy Development; Maternal and Child Health; Population, Family Planning & Reproductive Health; Health Administration; Medical Care; Environment; Food and Nutrition; HIV/AIDS; and International Health. Priority Caucuses are: Community-Based Public Health Caucus; Health Equity and Public Hospital Caucus; Caucus on Homelessness; Caucus on Public Health and the Faith Community; and Caucus on Refugee and Immigrant Health.

To volunteer for this Committee or for further information, contact Tori Booker at or (734) 944-0244) or Carl Rush at or (856) 566-6024).

Great CHW Recipes

Strawberry and Banana Milkshake
From the kitchen of Rosie Gonzalez, Houston

1 cup of fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries
1 large banana, cut
1 cup of skim milk
8 oz. plain low fat yogurt
8 ice cubes
Optional: 1-2 teaspoons of sugar or sugar substitute to taste

In a blender, combine all ingredients except ice cubes. Add ice cubes slowly and blend until mixture is smooth.

Licuado de Fresas y Platanos
De la cocina de Rosie Gonzalez, Houston

1 taza de fresas frescas o congeladas sin azúcar
1 plátano grande picado
1 taza de leche descremada
8 onzas de yogurt de sabor natural y bajo en grasa
8 cubitos de hielo
Opcional: 1-2 cucharadas de azúcar o sustituto de azúcar al gusto

En una licuadora, mezcla todos los ingredientes menos el hielo. Agregue el hielo despacio y licue hasta que este suave.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash (seeded, peeled and cubed)
1 large red bell pepper (seeded and diced)
1 large red onion (diced)
1 large carrot (peeled and diced)
2 tablespoons corn oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons red curry powder
4 cups broth, water, or milk

Sauté the vegetables in the 2 tablespoons of corn oil until tender. Add 1 cup of broth and simmer on low flame. In saucepan, brown flour and curry powder in olive oil. Add broth slowly to the flour and curry. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Add sautéed and steamed vegetables and simmer until vegetables are tender. For a cream soup blenderize the vegetables and broth. Serves 6.

Barbeque Chicken Breasts
4 skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup apricot preserve
2 Tbs. Plus 2 tsp. Light soy sauce
2 Tbs. Plus 2 tsp. Ketchup
2 tsp. Brown sugar
Quantity: 4 servings

During warm weather prepare grill or cook in oven with broiler. Place chicken on grill over medium heat. Cook 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Generously brush chicken with apricot glaze and cook 10-15 minutes longer, turning pieces often and brushing with glaze frequently until chicken is cooked throughout.

APHA Needs Your E-mail Address

APHA e-mails members when their Section or SPIG newsletter is online. If you have not been receiving any notification, we may have an incorrect e-mail address for you. If you are receiving copies of Section or SPIG newsletters in the mail or by fax, APHA does not have your e-mail address.

If we have your correct e-mail address, we are able to send you newsletter notification that provides faster, more current information. The mailed versions of the newsletters face a delay of several weeks for the newsletters to be photocopied, folded, stuffed in envelopes, labeled and processed through the U.S. Postal System.

Here’s how to update your information. Please click here to Update Your Member Record. You will need your APHA Member ID and password.

Members can also contact the membership department to make any changes at (202) 777-2400.

Watch for the next CHW SPIG Newsletter in Fall 2005!

APHA 2005 Community Health Worker SPIG Executive Board

Durrell Fox
New England HIV Education Consortium
Massachusetts Community Health Worker Network
23 Miner Street
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 262-5657

Chair Elect and Member Retention
Sergio Matos
Community Health Outreach
Health Plus PHSP, Inc.
195 Montague Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 491-7575

Susan Mayfield-Johnson
Center for Sustainable Health Outreach
University of Southern Mississippi
Southern Station Box 10015
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0015
(601) 266-6266

Policy Committee Chair and
Governing Council Representative
Lisa Renee Siciliano, LSWA
Massachusetts Public Health Association and
Massachusetts Community Health Worker Network
4 Lancaster Terrace
Worcester, MA 01609
(508) 791-5893

Program Planners 2005
Elena Schwolsky
Community Health Worker Network of NYC
452 51st St., Apt. 1
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(212) 676-2574

Tammi Fleming
Kingsley House
1600 Constance Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 523-6331 x172

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
NJ AHEC Program
One Medical Center Drive
Stratford, NJ 08084
(856) 566-6024

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
250 Washington Street, 5th floor
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 624-6016
Fax: (617) 624-6062

Member Recruitment
Dwyan Monroe
(410) 522-6500 ext. 256

Immediate Past Chair
Teresa Ríos
Community Capacitation Center
Multnomah County Health Department
(503) 988-3366 Ext. 28686
Cc e-mail to: Noel Wiggins:

Former Chair
Yvonne Lacey
Berkeley Health Department
1767 Alcatraz Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94703
(510) 644-6500

Immediate Past Governing Council
June Grube Robinson
724 Hoyt Ave.
Everett, WA 98201
(425) 249-2019

Lee Rosenthal
2250 East 8th Street
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 882 2105 x2