Community Health Worker - Archived Newsletters
Section Newsletter
Winter 2009

Message from the Chair

Happy New Year y Próspero Año Nuevo! As the new chair of the CHW SPIG, I’d like to welcome you to this edition of the newsletter. I’d also like to thank the Executive Council, SPIG members, presenters and attendees for making the CHW SPIG program a huge success during the 2008 APHA Annual Meeting.


This is an exciting time to be a CHW, promotor(a), CHR or a supporter of the field! We know that CHWs will be included in the 2010 U.S. Department of Labor Standard Occupational Classification revisions. While we are awaiting the decision of whether CHWs will be included as a distinct classification or with another job category, we know will be included as a work force! The newly nominated Secretary of Labor, Congresswoman Hilda Solis, D-Calif., is not only a supporter of CHWs, but also has pending CHW legislation. CHW organizations across the country are growing, and new organizations are developing very quickly. State and local health departments as well as public health associations are taking note of our vital role in public health, and many are supporting the development or growth of CHW organizations.  States and regions with strong CHW organizations are reaching out to neighboring states to assist in the development of new organizations. We’ve cone a long way -- but the road continues with many more miles to go. We have got to seize the moment and maximize the visibility we have as a field. CHWs, promotores(as) and CHRs must band together to take full advantage of the opportunities we have before us.


The CHW SPIG is a unit of the largest public health association in the world -- yet another opportunity before us. While we have successful sessions at each Annual Meeting and are represented on Action Board and Governing Council, there are many more opportunities within APHA passing us by.  As members of the CHW SPIG, I’m asking each of you to become more involved within the Association. There are several ways you can become more involved. Consider submitting an article for an upcoming newsletter, joining the Policy or Education y Capacitación Committees, running for an elected position either within the SPIG or the Association, or sign up to participate in APHA’s Public Health Action Network. There are eight available unaffiliated Governing Council seats for the 2009-2011 term. All current SPIG members are eligible to run for the unaffiliated seats. Nomination forms are due to APHA by Feb. 9, 2009. Please contact me if you are interested. Only through our increased involvement can we ensure that CHW, promotor(a) and CHR voices are heard on every level within APHA. For additional opportunities to become more involved, visit the APHA Web site.


As I hope you all know, the CHW SPIG is striving for section status within the Association. We have met all of the requirements except one. We need 250 SPIG members to become a section; we are close, but still need members. Opportunities within APHA will increase once we become a section, including representation on the Intersectional Council and at least two guaranteed Governing Councilor seats. We must currently run as unaffiliated Governing Councilors, which means we could lose our current seats during any election. We must apply and receive section status within the next year, or the CHW SPIG could be disbanded. Under current APHA policy, SPIGs may exist for only three years. We cannot let this opportunity slip through our fingers!  I’d like to ask that every current member invite one other person to join the CHW SPIG. Consider asking a fellow APHA member, a co-worker or friend. Don’t assume they are a SPIG member because you see them at the sessions or reception. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and we may gain a member. With so many opportunities on the horizon, we want to ensure that our voices heard. Please be active within the SPIG, APHA and your state or local CHW organization.


I would love the opportunity to hear your ideas to make the SPIG a strong, vibrant and successful unit within APHA. Please feel free to contact me at any time --


Lisa Renee Holderby

An Invitation to Respond to the Call For Abstracts

Dear CHWs and CHW Coordinators, Researchers, and other Allies,


The APHA Deadline for abstract submission is Feb. 10, 2009.  We hope you will consider a submission to our SPIG (soon to be Section) so we can learn more about the work that you do as well as innovative ways CHW work is supported, evaluated and financed in your community.


The APHA Annual Meeting is an excellent opportunity to share about your CHW program.  Not only is sharing about how your program works of interest, but this Annual Meeting provides an important time to share many other aspects of CHW programs as well such as how CHW capacity building/training is organized and what curriculum you use as well as how CHWs in your program and community are funded and supported. Think about these many aspects of your work as you think about submitting an abstract to APHA to share about your work.


In the abstract you submit, help our abstract review team understand what is special about your work with CHWs. Here are a few tips:


CHW SPIG Abstract Tips

Tell us how CHWs have made a difference in this program or project; did they help plan it, do they lead it, what are plans for CHWs in the future?

Make sure you make the abstract title short & sweet and specific to what you are sharing.

In your 250-word abstract you may want to try the following:

        --Objective or Goal of program/project: approx 100 words.
--Process: how conducted, why unique or beneficial to community/CHW field: approx. 100 words.
--Evaluation: what was achieved, evaluation process or plans for evaluation: approx. 50 words.


We want to hear from CHWs

Related to the “tip” above about CHWs, as you may have already noticed in the SPIG’s “Call for Abstracts,” it has been the tradition in our SPIG to give special consideration to abstracts that focus on describing how CHWs play a leading role in a CHW programs or projects.  We are also interested in abstracts that plan for CHWs to play a role in making the proposed presentation at APHA itself.  Make sure we know this information when you write up your abstract.  If you are a CHW writing the abstract, make sure we know that too.


We want to hear from CHW Allies

We also want to make sure that potential presenters know that we have a renewed interest in hearing from non-CHWs who actively support CHWs in research and practice.  Please pass the word of our interest on to colleagues who may be interested in submitting to the SPIG.


Think about Continuing Education Credits

If you decide to apply for Continuing Education credits for your proposed presentation, think about how the information you want to share can be adopted in other settings when you write your objectives about what participants will learn.



We want to hear from you

Dive in and write us a teaser about what you do; that is really what an abstract is -– a small taste of what you have to share.  In those short 250 words, if you get us hooked, we will accept your abstract for an oral paper or a poster session -- both great ways to share your story.


We hope you will take time to write down your ideas and share them with us so in turn we can give you the opportunity to share more about the great work you are doing!  Contact us if you have questions. 



Lee Rosenthal

CHW Legislative and Policy Update

HRSA Patient Navigator Grants Emphasize CHW Model
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Professions issued an RFP over the summer for $2 million in grants under the Menendez Patient Navigator Act (2005).  While it only funded six projects, the program is significant in that it essentially defined CHWs as the preferred model for Patient Navigator projects.  At one point in the RFP, HRSA stated that any applicant proposing to use any other professional as a Navigator was required to justify that choice.  Grantees include: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock; Northeast Valley Health Corporation in San FernandoCalif.Lutheran Medical Center in BrooklynN.Y.; South Broward Hospital District, HollywoodFla.; Palmetto Project, Inc., Mount PleasantS.C.; and Goodwin Community Health Center Inc., BrunswickGa.
Medicaid ER Diversion Project Features CHWs


CMS has funded Medicaid demonstration projects in 20 sites to help divert emergency room visitors to primary care.  According to Jessica Kahn of CMS, most of the sites want to include CHWs as important members of the project teams, and they are appropriately concerned about sustaining the CHW positions after the project ends.  Kahn has officially encouraged the sites to pursue Medicaid reimbursement for CHW services along the lines used by Minnesota in their 2007 Medicaid State Plan Amendment.  This is the first official  support for CHW reimbursement by CMS and will hopefully lead to wider adoption of these policies.

Rep. Solis Named Labor Secretary


President-Elect Obama has tapped California Congresswoman Hilda Solis, D-Calif., as his Secretary of Labor.  Rep. Solis has been a strong supporter of CHWs and Promotores de Salud, and has introduced several bills concerning CHWs.  We can look to Secretary Solis to be an advocate for greater recognition of CHWs/Promotores, and potentially more resources for CHW training and work force development.
Medicare Disparities Initiative Relies on CHWs
The Medicare program is piloting a health disparities initiative in diabetes in four states (plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) beginning August 2008 (the states are Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and New York).  The initiative relies on CHWs to provide diabetes self-management (DSME) education using two models (Project Dulce and DEEP).  In a national meeting of the 53 Medicare Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) in Baltimore at the end of August, Sergio Matos, Jacqueline Scott and Carl Rush were invited to present on key considerations in successful CHW programs.  Initially the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had planned to run the projects with volunteer CHWs, but in earlier meetings Scott and Rush urged the agency to create paid positions: this advice received the support of other prominent advisors to CMS.  Since Medicare is not currently authorized to reimburse for CHW services, CMS has committed to finding private support for paid positions in all six sites in the 3-year pilot period, and is open to evidence-based proposals for changes in policy.  At the August QIO meeting, Matos, Scott and Rush also urged the sites to develop local partnerships to learn how to properly manage a CHW program, and to involve CHWs in a full range of diabetes management activities, not just in teaching DSME classes.

National Focus on CHWs at Families USA Conference

The Minnesota Community Health Worker Project was invited to present at the recent Health Action 2009 conference in Washington, D.C. at the end of January.  Anne Willaert spoke on the Minnesota Community Health Worker project and the legislation passed by the state and approved by CMS to reimburse Community Health Workers under the Medicaid program.  The national grassroots meeting focused on health care reform to improve the lives of countless people and an opportunity for advocates and others to share their efforts towards reform.  Many national leaders attended the conference.  It was a great opportunity to share the role of the Community Health Worker and the opportunity to preach about their important role in developing health care reform and in meeting the needs of under-served populations.    


Anne Willaert

Healthcare Education Industry Partnership

1702 Highland Center

Mankato, MN  56001


Visión y Compromiso 2008 Annual Conference

On Dec. 5-6, 2008, Visión y Compromiso convened 800 Promotores, Community Health Workers (P/CHWs) and those that support their work. Participants came from all over California, Tijuana and other states of the nation for the Sixth Annual Statewide Conference titled ”Hacía una Vida Digna y Sana”  held in Los Angeles. This conference was the largest of its kind to bring  together Promotores and Community Health Workers representing community clinics, hospitals, family resource centers, school districts, county departments, housing organizations and organizations dedicated to community organizing efforts. Other parts of the country were well-represented with  Promotores and Community Health Workers working with the Latino community in Florida, Texas, Arizona and Pennsylvania. The goals of the conference were to: (1) facilitate the sharing of resources among P/CHWs and their programs; (2) create learning opportunities that would increase the capacity of P/CHW's to serve the communities they work with; and (3) inform policy-makers and public officials about the impact and skills of Promotores and Community Health Workers in California.    

This extraordinary effort was planned and executed in partnership with a local planning committee comprised of Promotores, Community Health Workers, program directors and other health care professionals.  Visión y Compromiso offered a structured educational and skill building program. Both days offered a morning plenary that allowed the participants to learn and engage in a dialogue with the panel members and other participants. The afternoons offered simultaneous tracks in which all participants could benefit from the expert presenters that addressed the following areas of health: mental health, chronic diseases, advocacy, alternative health, personal growth and skill building and a track for those that manage and coordinate Promotora and CHW programs. Consistent with all our community efforts, the conference was presented entirely in Spanish with simultaneous translation offered.

We invite P/CHWs across the nation to join us for our Seventh Annual conference in December 2009.  Feel free to contact Maria Lemus, executive director, at  or Melinda Cordero, associate director, at for additional information regarding the conference or our other services.

CHPPD Webinar: “The Role of Community in Health System Reform”

The Community Health Planning and Policy Development (CHPPD) Section APHA is coordinating a free Web conference on “The Role of Community in Health System Reform” on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Three speakers will present perspectives on a position paper the Section is working on.  They will describe community health planning from the medical and from the public health/community perspectives, and opportunities for action.  For more information, or to register, visit

CHW Network Corner: CHWs Are Organizing!

Across the country, at all levels (statewide, locally and nationally), CHWs are organizing professional associations or networks.  CHW associations advocate for CHWs and the communities they serve.  They give CHWs a means of gaining additional skills, accessing support and recognition, and sharing resources and strategies with peers.


This regular newsletter feature highlights the ongoing organizing efforts of CHWs across the country.  We urge CHWs to contact their local networks and get involved!  If there is no network in your area, think about starting one.  Contact the network nearest you for information and strategies about organizing.


We recognize the enormous energy and commitment of CHWs as they organize.  We also know that this is only a partial list of CHW associations.  If you know of others, please let us know!  Contact the Newsletter Editor, Gail Hirsch, at:, or                617-624-6016        .


								National CHW Organizations: 

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


American Public Health Association CHW Special Primary Interest Group : Lisa Renee Holderby, Chair,                617-524-6696         X. 102,


Community Health Workers National Network Association: Wandy Hernandez Chair, Chicago Health Connections 957 W. Washington Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60607;                (312) 2...       .


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



State/Regional CHW Organizations



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


The Community Health Worker/Promotoras Network, Maria Lemus, Executive Director, Vision Y Compromiso, 2536 Edwards Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530;                (510) 2...       ;                (510...        fax; e-mail:, or Maria at


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



Georgia Community Health Advisor Network, Gail McCray, Department of CH/PM

Morehouse School of Medicine, 720 Westview Drive, Atlanta, GA  30310-1495

                 (404...         ,


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



Wandy Hernandez Chicago Health Connections 957 W. Washington Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60607;                (312) 243-4772        




Community Outreach Workers Association of Maryland, INC. (COWAM), 259 North Lanvale Street, Baltimore, Md. 21217,                (4...        or                (410) 669-7960        , Carol Payne,



Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW), Lisa Renee Holderby, Executive Director,, 434 Jamaicaway, Jamaica Plain MA, 02130 (617) 524-6696 x 102



Michigan CHW Coalition, Celeste Sanchez at or Grace Cadena at               (616...       .




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



NEW JERSEY – no CHW organization but the NJ CHW Institute is supporting the development of CHW groups. Contact person Dwyan Monroe, Deputy Director, Community Health Worker Institute, NJ AHEC/ UMDNJ-SOM, 42 Laurel Road E., STE. 3200 Stratford, NJ 08084; ph:                (856) 566-6024        , fax: (856) 566-2754 e-mail:



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



New York City -Community Health Worker Network of NYC; 425 E. 25 Street; New York, NY 10010;                (212) 4...        Sergio Matos, Executive Director  or Romy Rodriguez, Chair, ; Web site:


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



Community Health Worker Association, Vivian J. Anderson, MA, President , phone                (614...       ,

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



South Texas Promotora Association, Weslaco, Texas; Ramona Casas                (956) 783-9293        



Washington Community Health Worker Network

Lilia Gomez -                (360...        (ext 230) -

Seth Doyle -                (206...        (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 2009 Community Health Worker SPIG Executive Council

2009 Chair

Governing Council Representative

Lisa Renee Holderby

Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers

Tel: (617) 524-6696 ext. 102



Carl H. Rush

Community Resources, LLC

Tel: (210) 745-0560




Susan Mayfield-Johnson

University of Southern Mississippi




Governing Council Representative

Durrell Fox

New England HIV Education Consortium

and Massachusetts Association of

Community Health Workers

Tel: (617) 262-5657



Program Planner

Teresa M. Hines, MPH

Director, Continuing Medical Education

Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, TTUHSC

4800 Alberta Avenue

El Paso, Texas 78805


915/783-6220 fax



Anne Willaert

Healthcare Education Industry Partnership

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities

Tel: (507) 389-2590


Immediate Past Chair

Sergio Matos

Community Health Worker Network of

NYC and Columbia University

Mailman School of Public Health

Tel: (212) 304-6415


Policy Chair and 2010 Chair-Elect

Maria Alvarez deLopez

Spectrum Health/ Healthier Communities

Tel: (616) 391-6052



Newsletter Editor

Gail Hirsch

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Tel: (617) 624-6016


Communication/Continuing Education

Nell Brownstein

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tel: (770) 488-2570


Education y Capacitación Committee


Romelia Rodriguez

Community Health Worker Network of

New York City

Tel: (718) 350-5853


E. Lee Rosenthal

University of Texas at El Paso

Tel: (915) 747-8233