Who We Are

CHW Section History

In 1970, some 500 community health workers and their supporters joined together within APHA to from the New Professionals Special Primary Interest Group. Their name was chosen in protest of the many terms used to describe them, including non-professional, sub-professional, aide, auxiliary and para-professional. In the 1980s, membership and activity in the SPIG declined, but the group continued to present a limited program and hold a business meeting during the Annual APHA Meeting. Throughout the 1990s, the SPIG was able to revitalize its voice within APHA. In 2000, the New Professionals SPIG changed its name to the Community Health Worker SPIG. The CHW Section has consistently been involved in APHA governance since 2000 when we gained our first Unaffiliated Governing Councilors, E. Lee Rosenthal and June Grube-Robinson. That same year, the CHW SPIG submitted a resolution in support of CHWs: Policy Resolution #200115, "Recognition and Support for Community Health Workers' Contributions to Meeting our Nation's Health Care Needs." The resolution was formally adopted in 2002. The CHW SPIG Became the CHW Section in 2009. 

Section Goals

Policy Development 

An important part of the APHA CHW Section is to develop and support policies for the community health worker workforce. The CHW Section's Policy Committee convenes CHWs and their advocate from around the U.S. to do the following:

  • Develop and support APHA policies that promote the CHW workforce and CHW self-determination
  • Share best practices and advance institutional, local, state, and national policies that support the CHW workforce and self-determination

CHW-related APHA policy links:

Non-APHA Policy Links

Leadership Development

Our goal is to continue our tradition of electing community health workers to our highest leadership positions, with support from allies and students. National recognition of community health worker leadership serves as a source of inspiration and power for community health workers everywhere.

Membership Engagement

Our goal is to recruit and retain community health worker allies and students as members of the Section. This will occur through local and regional networks, health networks, academic networks, and independent professional associations of community health workers throughout the United States and tribal communities as well as at national meetings where community health workers gather.