State Health Department Support

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How might the state health department support statewide CHW certification?

Once the CHW workforce and stakeholders have decided to pursue statewide CHW certification, the state health department can support the development and implementation of certification by establishing it as a priority within state government and among partners.

Potential actions for stakeholders
  • Reviewing resources from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) that detail how state public health agencies can support CHW workforce development
  • Participating in CHW stakeholder coalitions, advisory groups, task forces, and boards that are working to advance statewide CHW workforce development, including certification
  • Determining whether it is feasible to assign designated staff or establish a CHW program within the state health department
  • Leveraging the state health department’s wide reach to gather feedback and convene a variety of stakeholders, from both community and healthcare settings, to inform decisions about statewide CHW certification
  • Considering how the state health department could help to administer the statewide CHW certification program

Case examples

Two community health workers laughing.

State health departments can support CHW certification by making it a priority.

  • The Arizona Department of Health Services created a CHW Program Manager position to support the CHW Workforce Coalition and efforts to advance statewide CHW certification. In addition, it plans to contribute to the administration of the statewide CHW certification program by maintaining a certified CHW registry.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Public Health created an Office of CHWs and a website on CHWs for stakeholders. The state health department is also promoting the statewide CHW certification program to CHWs and employers, and is administering a survey to evaluate certification impact.
  • The Kansas Department of Health has held multiple workshops in communities in the Kansas City metropolitan area to discuss CHW certification, education, and workforce development.
  • The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has supported the South Carolina CHW Association’s efforts to become an established entity by serving on committees. The Association is currently exploring what certification would look like for the state. DHEC has also joined ASTHO’s CHW Learning Community to receive technical assistance on policy development.
  • The North Carolina Division of Public Health held a series of statewide stakeholder meetings and workshops to advance the statewide CHW program, which is to include certification. Stakeholders represented at these meetings included: state government departments (Office on Rural Health), health associations, statewide organizations, clinical-related associations, health education centers, local health departments, nonprofit organizations, university hospitals, academics, insurers, and funders.