Community Health Workers

As defined by the American Public Health Association, a Community Health Worker (CHW) “is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.”

The Asthma Regional Council of New England supports the development of the Community Health Worker workforce through its New England Asthma Innovations Collaborative. Below you will find various resources for and about CHWs.

Training Programs

Community Health Workers play a key role in ensuring the health and well-being of Boston’s multicultural residents. The Community Health Education Center at the Boston Public Health Commission (CHEC) is a training and professional development center that strives to enhance the capacity of CHWs to provide outreach and health education in the diverse communities of Boston. CHEC is a partners of ARC in the New England Asthma Innovations Collaborative.

The Outreach Worker Training Institute at the Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center is a career-focused, college supported educational pipeline for public health professionals known as Community Health Workers (CHWs) as well as the supervisors of CHWs in health and social services. The OWTI addresses the community’s need for CHWs’ professional preparedness by offering certificate courses tailored to public health workers who are CHWs employed in health and social service agencies. The OWTI website offers numerous resources for CHWs and information about training opportunities. OWTI is a partner of ARC in the New England Asthma Innovations Collaborative.

Back to top

Professional Associations

The American Public Health Association’s CHW section publishes a 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.

The Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW) is a statewide professional organization for community health workers (CHWs) from all disciplines. Founded in March 2000, MACHW enables CHWs to lead the movement to organize, define and strengthen the profession of community health work. MACHW has a very rich CHW resource library. MACHW is a partner of ARC in the New England Asthma Innovations Collaborative.

The Connecticut Public Health Association. In September 2011, the CPHA Board of Directors voted to explore providing assistance to CHWs in CT to help support their organizing efforts. This webpage is created to bring together documents, meeting minutes, web links and other resources that can be helpful to CHWs and their advocates to create a network on CHWs in our state.

Back to top

Resources for CHWs

The Health Workforce Information Center (HWIC) provides free access to the most recent resources on the nation’s health workforce in one easy-to-use online location. Resources available through HWIC’s Web site will help health providers, educators, researchers and policymakers around the nation develop strategies to meet future workforce demands. Massachusetts established one of the first CHW programs in the country under the Economic Opportunities Act of 1964. Since that time, the CHW workforce has continued to grow. Strong CHW leadership in Massachusetts, with support from MDPH, organized the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW) in 2000. This website contains a vast amount of local and national CHW resources.

Back to top

Asthma Education Tools for CHWs

The Breathe Easies is the first asthma rock band. If you are a CHW or health educator who works with asthmatic children, then you may find these YouTube videos developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be a helpful teaching tool. Caregivers and educators can find more information at

The Keys to Easy Breathing Flipbook is an easy-to-read, printable booklet is used by several provider sites in the NEAIC intervention. Colorful illustrations help make this an ideal teaching tool for children and low-literacy adults. Available for download in English and Spanish.

Safe Cleaning for People with Asthma is a one-page resource that can be helpful when educating caregivers on safe cleaning practices that will not worsen their child’s asthma. Available for download in English and Spanish.

Back to top


Do you have additional information or resources that you would like to see posted here? Contact ARC!