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Community Health Worker - Archived Newsletters
Section Newsletter
Winter 2008

Message from the Chair

Warm greetings to all of our members, allies and supporters.  Welcome to the Winter 2008 edition of our newsletter. I write this message with the New Year upon us and winter quickly fading.  Incredible as it may seem, the 2007 APHA Annual Meeting was only a short three months ago. The CHW SPIG hosted a complete three-day program last year, including panel presentations, roundtable discussions, business meetings and a SPIG reception.  Last year was a big year for our SPIG as we continue to develop within APHA and gain notice and attention within the organization.  Also last year, for the first time, we presented a special 90-minute invited session at the Community Health Planning and Policy Development (CHPPD) Section that was attended by over 200 people.  We thank our program planners, our treasurer and our leadership for all their efforts to put together such an accomplished event last year.  And if you thought that was good, wait ‘till you see what we have planned for the 2008 Annual Meeting in San Diego.  Our 2008 program will include even more innovative programming.  The CHW SPIG program will feature an exciting panel presentation focused on CHW trans-border interactions and programs, and the unique role of CHWs along the southern border regions of the United States.  Continuing our practice of presenting innovative programming and formats, we will also host debates, town hall meetings, workshops and roundtable discussions to consider the various policy and practice issues relevant to our practice. We also plan to continue our collaboration with other Sections, SPIGs and Caucuses.


This is also an important year on the policy front.  So much has been accomplished across the United States this past year. In a first for our field, Minnesota has established Medicaid reimbursement for CHW services. This is an amazing development and one that promises to influence our field for years to come.  Another first for our field is the publication of the proceedings from “Focus on the Future,” the first national conference (invitational) to build a national research agenda for the community health worker field. We have also seen a significant growth in the number of local and regional CHW-led organizations developing all over the country and abroad. This too is an important development because as our field continues to grow and gain the attention of the health care industry, it will become increasingly important that our CHW leaders and CHW-led network/associations organizations continue their efforts on self-governance and self-determination for our field.


Our Policy Committee continues to be very active, and our two Governing Councilors continue to participate fully in their roles.  This year our SPIG is making a major push to apply for ‘section’ status within APHA.  One major change that will support this effort is the fact that APHA has changed their section affiliation policy this year to make it possible for APHA members to select multiple affiliations – instead of the prior policy of permitting only one.  We ask all our members, allies and supporters to please select the CHW SPIG as your primary, secondary or tertiary affiliation.  This support on your part will make it possible for us to achieve and maintain the minimum number of affiliated members necessary to become a section. I am also very excited to report that our Policy Committee and our newly activated Committee on Education y Capacitación will be submitting a policy resolution for APHA consideration this year.  This effort will build on the APHA resolution passed in 2001, and APHA will be urged to support many aspects of CHW training and development.


Our newsletter editor, Gail Hirsch, has put together this comprehensive and informative edition of our newsletter to provide an update of our current activities.  This edition contains reports on a number of recent events of significance to our field, including a report from our Sewell Foundation scholarships last year; an article on the Minnesota legislation authorizing Medicaid reimbursement for CHW services; an article on Unity 2008; a report on the recently held inaugural conference of CHWs in Chicago and an announcement on the upcoming first annual conference of CHWs in Michigan.


So, please let me thank you for visiting our Web location and for your interest in the CHW field.  Please enjoy this edition of our newsletter.  For comments, please contact me at, or our newsletter editor, Gail Hirsch.


Minnesota is Celebrating

New legislation regarding community health workers passed, and the federal government approved the Minnesota state plan amendment adding CHW coverage.   This legislation allows for reimbursement through Medicaid, GMAC and MNCare for care coordination and patient education services provided by a community health worker. A CHW is reimbursable if they attended the MnSCU approved CHW curriculum and received a certificate upon graduation.  There is also a grandfathering clause which would allow a CHW who has not attended the training to be reimbursable if they have five years of supervised experience confirmed by a physician or APRN.  For additional clarification on this new legislation, contact project director Anne Willaert from the Healthcare Education Industry Partnership at or visit

Chicago CHWs: Connected, United, Passionate for Service

On Nov. 9, 2007, the Chicago-based Community Health Workers Local Network hosted its inaugural conference at Westside Technical Institute. The one-day conference, entitled Sharpening Minds, Providing Tools for Community Health Intervention, offered holistic and culturally appropriate tools for health care interventions in the four core areas of asthma, diabetes, childhood obesity, and access to services. It brought together over 150 CHWs from the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs who provide health care education in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, and school-based facilities. The conference also featured a motivational keynote by Sergio Matos, co-founder of the Community Health Worker Network of New York City. This was the first networking and educational conference the network has hosted since becoming an independent network in April 2007, and it provided an opportunity to celebrate progress that has been made in a short period of time.


“I have love and compassion for helping others . . . I have a passion for giving my people knowledge . . . I am understanding and a good listener . . . I have concern for the under-served. Helping people makes me feel I am making a difference.” These are a few of many sentiments expressed among the conference participants when asked their motivation for working as a health educator in their respective communities. The participants were able to provide much needed feedback about the conference and offer insight into how the network can serve them in the future. Many of the participants expressed interest in obtaining membership within the network as well as continuing education opportunities.


One of the primary goals of the network is to ensure that CHWs play a vital role in delivering health care in at-risk Chicago neighborhoods. It also seeks to provide continuing education and peer support and to expand the current numbers of individuals who serve in that role. Since becoming independent, the network has successfully completed many of its objectives, including providing office space and supplies for use of CHW leadership and implementing a one-day gathering for CHWs. There are currently 14 active steering committee members, all of whom are intimately involved in the network and serve in many capacities. The network is currently planning for 2008 and hopes to continue to build toward meeting all of their project goals including continuing education through quarterly gatherings and peer support. They are excited about the opportunities to expand, develop, nurture and provide support to other CHWs in the Chicago area.


The Chicago CHW Local Network envisions a society in which all of its residents, regardless of their socioeconomic status, have equal and sufficient access to health care, resources and education needed to live healthy lives.

“The Nation’s Health” Reports on Release of CHW Research Conference Report

The January 2008 issue of The Nation’s Health (APHA’s monthly newspaper) describes the release of the conference report on a CHW research agenda at the 2007 APHA Annual Meeting.  The original article reported (incorrectly) that the U.S. Labor Department had already created an occupational code for CHWs; the online edition has been corrected.  To view the article go to (APHA member number and password required).

CHWs Plan Exciting Program for 2008 Annual Meeting

The 2008 APHA Annual Meeting will be held in San Diego, Oct. 25-29.  Theme:  Public Health Without Borders.

Many exciting things will be happening with the Community Health Worker Special Interest Group this year.  One is a milestone of moving from a SPIG to a Section.  This is due to the work of a large group of people, plus the increased involvement and representation to the CHW SPIG.  This is a very exciting move for CHWs as it recognizes the continued growth and support for the profession in public health. 

This year at APHA, the CHW SPIG will be sponsoring a number of very diverse sessions.  They include a three hour workshop on CHW leadership, a debate on issues of importance to CHWs, and we will be addressing the role of CHWs as it relates to immigration and trans-border programs.  The Community Health Worker SPIG welcomes abstracts that address issues important to CHWs (who go by various titles - including promotora, community health advisor and outreach worker, etc.) and the people they serve.  Special consideration will be given to abstracts that demonstrate the CHWs will play a leading role in developing and presenting your program.  For more information and how to submit an abstract, please go to the APHA Web site at:

Unity Conference 2008

The Center for Sustainable Health Outreach will hold its annual Unity conference June 16-19, 2008 at the Hotel Albuquerque in historic Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Unity 2008 is a national conference designed for and about community health workers.  The theme for this year’s conference is “Community Health Workers: The Winds of Change - From Grass Roots to Ground Breaking Public Health Professionals.”


Unity 2008 will address the role community health workers play in strengthening and enhancing public health in times of health care provider shortages, tight budgets and impending public health crises.  The conference will stress: the importance of community health workers to the health care and human services delivery systems; ways to develop and sustain CHW programs; strength-based responses to community health shortfalls; new and emerging roles for CHWs; and methods of overcoming barriers to CHW program success.


The conference format will include plenary sessions with addresses from keynote speakers and panelists, as well as numerous breakout, poster, skill-building and roundtable workshop sessions.  Community health workers are strongly encouraged to attend.  Unity 2008 is an opportunity for community health workers to share knowledge, information, and expertise with other community health workers and interested parties. 


The conference registration fee is $300 and includes training, materials and lunch each day.  Discounted registration fees are available for community health workers and students.  A number of limited conference fee waivers are available to community health workers upon request.  Conference information is available at  by going to the Unity Conference links.

Exhibit space will be available during Unity 2008.  The Center encourages community health worker programs and related service providers and educational programs to exhibit during the conference.  To discuss exhibiting during Unity 2008, contact Rebekah Young at (601) 266-5388 or  Opportunities to serve as sponsors are also available.  For more information to sponsor Unity 2008 or other conference activities, please contact Susan Mayfield-Johnson at (601) 266-6266 or


Albuquerque, with its wonderful restaurants, shopping, cultural activities, live entertainment, golfing and attractions, is an exciting place for a conference.  Within Albuquerque, you will find ancient cultures, world-famous cuisine, diverse landscapes, renowned museums and much more.  All these activities are located within walking distance or a short ride from the Hotel Albuquerque.  Located in the heart of Old Town, the Hotel Albuquerque is a unique blend of Native American, Mexican, Spanish and Western culture.  The result is a magical experience that allows guests of the hotel to discover more than 400 years of history and Native American heritage.


Mark your calendars now to join us in New Mexico for Unity 2008!

Michigan Plans First CHW Conference!

In August 2008, Spectrum Health will be sponsoring a community health worker conference.  This one day conference is scheduled to take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information, please contact Maria Álvarez deLopez at  We look forward to seeing you in Michigan this summer. 

Minnesota Celebrates CHWs in First Statewide Conference

The Community Health Worker Peer Network, with the wonderful support and organizational skills of Andrea Leinberger-Jabari and Elizabeth Hutchenson from Minnesota International Health Volunteers, had an exciting year. It was capped off by our enormously successful, first statewide conference held Nov. 16, 2007 at the Sofitel Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.


The conference, “Great Connections: Community Health Workers as Agents of Change” was attended by over 200 participants from across the state of Minnesota and neighboring states. We even had a few people from the east and west coast of the country! The keynote speakers Lisa Renee Holderby and Durrell Fox were highlights of the conference.


The networking opportunities, choice of sessions and the exhibit hall were all first-class. Attendees were unanimous in their agreement about how much they learned about the status of CHWs in Minnesota and the valuable work they do. It was clear that CHWs truly are a valuable resource for linking consumers and health professionals in joint efforts to reduce health disparities.


One participant shared this comment: “This conference was a positive experience because I got to meet and talk with CHWs through out the entire day.”


On behalf of Minnesota CHW Peer Network we want to thank sponsors and volunteers for making this conference possible.


Special thanks to all the CHWs who helped plan the conference!!


CHW Attends the APHA Annual Meeting for the First Time

Let me first start off by saying that I had a great time in D.C. The atmosphere there is way different than what I’m used to. Also people are a little bit nicer in D.C than in Chicago. The food was great, especially the crab cakes. The weather was pleasant, and the traffic was way better. I would like to take this time to thank the Sewell Foundation for helping to sponsor my travel to APHA. Out of my 22 years on this earth, that was the best trip of my life.


First, I went to a class where there were four presenters. The class was "New and Emerging Roles in CHWs including Researchers, Patient Navigators, Trainers, etc." The first presenter was a lady named Anita Marie Buel. She is a CHW representing deaf Americans. She gave a great presentation in sign language, which I thought was pretty cool. Second was a presenter from the Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion who discussed how she gave health information to the Latino community in Chicago. Third was an individual from Methods of Engagement, and she also discussed giving information to the Latino community in Texas. Last were presenters from Building Capacity, who addressed Filipino heart health in New York and New Jersey. They were all excellent.


Later that night I attended the Community Health Workers SPIG social hour. It was a great time. I meet Susan Mayfield-Johnson, who was a delight. However, I knew this before even meeting her.  When we had talked over the phone about my travel scholarship, she sounded very pleasant with her Southern accent.  I also met Mr. Sergio Matos, who is the chairman of the CHW SPIG. He informed me that I should get more involved in our local CHW meetings, especially since I am young and a male (very few CHWs are males). I plan on not just being more involved, but also joining our local CHW network and attending the meetings. Another thing that I liked was getting to meet people from different cities and backgrounds. This allowed me to hear their different stories and learn about the different fields they are in (good or bad). Also the food at the hotel was delicious, and the rooms were beautiful.


The next day, Tuesday, was a very busy day. I went to two classes. The first class was "Policy and Practice Issues Relevant to the Training of Community Health Workers." They gave us a lot of different teaching methods to use and also a few games to try, which I did in one of my classes here in Chicago. The next class was called "Unnatural Causes in Inequality - Making Us Sick." It was very good. They showed a movie about racism in the work place, and also lectured about a study determining how long you are going to live depending on where you live. That was probably the best class. I left with a lot of knowledge. When I was done attending these classes, my coworkers and I went on a tour of Washington, D.C, and I got to see the White House and an underground museum.


On Wednesday morning I went to the CHW business meeting, which was the first meeting that I attended. I think people could tell because I was not familiar with some of the issues. However, there were quite a few issues that I knew a lot about, and I had some good ideas on getting more people involved in CHW activities. I’m ready to go back to Chicago and tell some of my coworkers about the strides CHWs are making, and how we can become a better unit. So all in all, I enjoyed the conference, and I hope I get chosen to go again. But if I don’t, I’m glad I got the opportunity to go to this one. I learned a lot, saw a lot, and networked myself, which was something that I really wanted to accomplish. So, thank you Sewell Foundation and CHW SPIG!


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


AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS (AACHW) 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, Texas 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,, (508) 856-4852, University of Massachusetts Office of Community Programs, 333 South Street, Shrewsbury, MA 01545.



Michigan Community Advocate Association (MICAA), Contact: Maria Alvarez deLopez,; 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, Contacts: LuAnn Werner (612) 230-3255, Andrea Leinberger (612) 230-3254 Chair - Grace Anderson,; Co-Chair -- Anita Buel - .



Contact: Dwyan Monroe, Deputy Director, Community Health Worker Institute, NJ AHEC/ UMDNJ-SOM, 42 Laurel Road E., STE. 3200 Stratford, NJ 08084; ph: (856) 566-6024, fax: (856) 566-2754 e-mail:  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 81433Albuquerque, 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; (917) 653-9699 phone; Sergio Matos, Romy Rodriguez; ;


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 affiliation, 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 ($80 annually for those whose income is under $40,000 annually).

      · A consumer subsidized membership ($80 annually for those who do not derive income from health related activities).

      · A Student/Trainee subsidized membership ($60 annually for those enrolled in a college or university or occupied in a formal training program).

      · Regular membership is $195 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.

Celebrate National Public Health Week 2008 - "Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance"

The health effects of climate change will take center stage during National Public Health Week, April 7-13, 2008. As part of the weeklong observance, themed "Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance," APHA will lead the charge in helping people, communities and families recognize that adapting to climate change and mitigating its impact is critical not just for the health of our planet, but for the health of the people in our nation and around the world.

Changes in our climate are causing more severe weather events. Extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, high winds, snowstorms, floods and hurricanes have the potential to dramatically affect the health and safety of both individuals and our communities. Changing ecosystems allow for emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases such as dengue or malaria, which are changing the spectrum of disease risks affecting populations. In poorer parts of the world, drought and floods often force people to move away from lands no longer producing enough food, often resulting in hunger and malnutrition. Moreover, contaminated drinking water can result in outbreaks of diarrheal diseases, leading to dehydration or death.

Few Americans will ever see the melting Greenland ice cap up close, or interact with an arctic polar bear facing extinction as its habitat melts. But local public health professionals around the country increasingly will be dealing with the impacts of climate change on the ground, every day. Join APHA as we work to create a healthier planet. Visit the official National Public Health Week Web site at to check out the climate change blog and brochure, sign up to be a National Public health Week partner, or add your week's event to the national calendar. For more information about National Public Health Week, contact

APHA 2008 Community Health Worker SPIG Executive Council


      Sergio Matos 

      Community Health Worker Network of NYC

      (718) 703-9340


      Immediate Past Chair/Governing Council Representative

      Durrell Fox

      New England HIV Education Consortium

      Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers

      23 Miner Street

      Boston, MA 02215

      (617) 355-8421



      Carl Rush

      (210) 745-0560


      Governing Council Representative

      Lisa Renee Holderby

      Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers

      333 South Street

      Shrewsbury, MA  01545 


      Chairperson for Committee on Education y Capacitación

      Romelia Rodriguez

      Community Premier Plus

      384 E. 149th Street Suite 504

      Bronx, NY 10455

      (718) 742-2675 (Phone)

      (718) 742-2654 (Fax)


Program Planner 2007

      Anne Willaert

      Minnesota State University

      4 Myers Field House

      Mankato, MN 56001

      (507) 389-2590


      Treasurer and Co-Program Planner

      Susan Mayfield-Johnson

      University of Southern Mississippi

      (601) 266-6266


      Special Advisor

      E. Lee Rosenthal


      Policy Committee Chair

      Maria Alvarez deLopez, CHW

      MOMS - Mothers Offering Mothers Support

      Spectrum Health Hospital

      75 Sheldon SE, Suite 203

      Grand Rapids, Mi. 49503

      Phone: (616) 391-3473

      Fax: (616) 391-6185


      Liaisons 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

      Fax: (617) 624-6062



      Membership and Recruitment

      Dwyan Monroe