Community Health Worker Academy

Mission of the academy

To recruit, certify, train, supervise, and provide professional development to Community Health Workers employed by diverse and integrated public health and medical care teams to enhance the effectiveness and cost-efficiencies in optimizing population health and advancing health equity.

The Academy is supported by not only community health workers, but a vast array of other professionals from a variety of disciplines, including physicians, master trainers, psychologists, social workers, counselors, health coaches, researchers, dieticians, health economists, university faculty, and many others.

Community Health Worker Academy Booklet

Role of community health workers

Community Health Workers are increasingly playing vital roles in integrated public health and clinical care settings. Some of their important contributions include:

  • Providing effective community outreach with diverse populations and locations to advance health equity
  • Building trust with the communities they serve
  • Understanding the social determinants of health that impact mental health and disease prevention and treatment
  • Supporting residents' access to and retention in medical care and public health support services
  • Serving as health coaches to assist with lifestyle assessments and culturally-relevant lifestyle modifications
  • Assisting communities with responding to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies

Services offered by the academy

The Academy works with organizations who require the services of CHWs to understand their employment needs and then develop recruitment, hiring, training, supervision, and professional development plans that areuniquely tailored to the CHW employment needs of the organization. In addition, the Academy also provides customized trainings for individuals seeking to gain employment as a CHW. All services are guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Core Public Health Competencies and Essential Public Health Services.

Some of the support services the Academy provides to new and current CHWs, as well as partner organizations, include:

  • Support with securing grant funds (e.g., grant writing, CHWrecruitment and training quotes, research and evaluation services and quotes, etc.)
  • Recruitment of new and/or existing CHWs
  • Initial CHWcertification training (in collaboration with MiCHWA)
  • Advanced specialized education to supplement certified CHWs' initial training based on career aspirations and employer needs
  • Professional development and re-certifications to support advanced on­ the-job work scope
  • On-the-job CHW supervision and/or evaluations
  • Supervision and evaluation training for employer-based CHW supervisors

Academy's specialized training focus

The Academy provides an array of specialized trainings that extend CHWs' professional expertise far beyond their initial certification training so they can swiftly and efficiently acquire the expertise to successfully work in any health care or public health setting.

Sample specialized trainings include:

  • Training experiences in a range of diverse community-based, public health, and medical care settings
  • Specialized trainings on specific health conditions for prevention and/or treatment (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, asthma, COVID-79, vaccinations, immunizations, obesity, oral health, sudden infant death syndrome, HIV, HPV, sexual health, ADHD, cancer)
  • Specialized trainings on a range of mental health and well-being issues (e.g., stress, anxiety, bipolar disorder, suicide prevention, alcohol/drug/prescription medicine use and abuse, mindfulness)
  • Effective communication strategies (e.g., motivational interviewing, patient self­ management, presentation and facilitation skills, implicit bias training, trauma informed care)
  • Cultural competence education for working with diverse populations and communities (e.g., urban/suburban/rural, racial/ethnic groups, sexual and gender orientations, individuals with disabilities, lifespan age groups, socio-economic status)
  • Training in evaluating and improving social determinants of health (e.g., health disparities, health equity, linkages to care, accessing health care/public health/ social services, mobile health units, housing, employment, community/patient advocacy)
  • Technology and digital literacy training (e.g., computer/tablet/mobile/connectivity access and use, linkage to care repositories, patient medical records, standard software platforms, remote monitoring devices, telehealth)


Nate McCaughtry, Ph.D.

Cheryl Somers, Ph.D.
Associate Director

Porsche Fischer, Doctor of Human Services (DrHS)
Education and Evaluation Manager

Holly Joseph, B.S., CHES, Master CHW Trainer
Education and Development Manager