Wisconsin Community Health Worker Network

Establishing a mechanism to guide training and networking opportunities for CHWs statewide

Full Project Name:The Wisconsin Community Health Worker NetworkPrimary Community Organization:North Central Area Health Education CenterPrimary Academic Partner:Earnestine Willis, MD, MPH, PediatricsAward Amount:$45,669
Award Date
July2008
Project Duration:12 months

Project Description Narrative:


Community Health Workers (CHWs) are frontline public health professionals. As trusted members of the communities they serve — through shared ethnicity, language, culture, and experience — CHWs are able to bridge gaps between underserved populations and health or social systems and also help build individual and community health knowledge and self-sufficiency through outreach, community organizing, informal counseling, social support, translation/interpretation and advocacy.

Despite growing numbers of CHW programs in Wisconsin, the state lags far behind other states in providing training and networking opportunities for these workers, which are essential to supporting the workforce needs of the state as well as the wellbeing of the workers themselves.

Through this award, project partners seek to establish a mechanism for cultivating training and networking opportunities for CHWs and their supporters throughout Wisconsin through the creation and development of a Wisconsin Community Health Worker Network.

Community partners:
Milwaukee Area Health Education Center; Northeastern Wisconsin Area Health Education Center; Wisconsin Area Health Education Center, Statewide Program Office

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Convened a 16-member Wisconsin Community Health Worker Curriculum Planning Taskforce with representation from a range of community health worker (CHW) programs, geographic areas, and populations served. Task force worked to identify and address issues related to CHW training and development and to initiate dialogue around coordinating and systematizing CHW training in Wisconsin. Resulting task force recommendations called for work to continue beyond the grant period

• Created a statewide database and distribution list for CHWs, enabling project partners to reach partners statewide with information and resources

• Developed and hosted a two-day Wisconsin CHW Network conference attended by 130 people, providing an opportunity for project partners to communicate training and networking opportunites for CHWs

• Strengthened partnerships to support CHW initiatives among the Wisconsin Area Health Education Center (AHEC) System entities and supported the development of new partnerships with MCW and agencies/organizations involved in the Curriculum Planning Taskforce

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