Community Health Workers

Community health workers are frontline, public health professionals who often have similar cultural beliefs, chronic health conditions, disability, or life experiences as other people in the same community. As trusted leaders, they often serve as a link between their community and needed health or social services. Community Health Workers help to improve access to, quality of, and cultural responsiveness of service providers.

The Rhode Island Department of Health understands that health is about more than just medical care and supports the formal certification of these individuals. Health begins where we live, learn, work, and play. Since January 2015, the Department has worked with Health Equity Zones across the state to address the needs of communities, as defined by the communities themselves.

Community health workers can benefit from certification and by learning about the healthcare system, social and environmental determinants of health, and how to help community members make healthy choices.

What you can do to become a certified Community Health Worker

  • Apply for Community Health Worker certification.
  • Complete six months or 1,000 hours of paid or volunteer work experience within the last five years.
  • Complete 50 hours of supervised work.
  • Complete 70 hours of education in nine topics:
    • Engagement methods and strategies;
    • Individual and community assessment;
    • Culturally and linguistically appropriate responsiveness;
    • Promote health and wellbeing;
    • Care coordination and system navigation;
    • Public health concepts and approaches;
    • Advocacy and community capacity building;
    • Safety and self-care; and
    • Ethical responsibilities and professional skills
  • Submit a portfolio.
    The portfolio is a collection of personal and professional activities and achievements. This part of the requirement for the community health worker is highly personalized, and no two applicants will submit the same documentation. Components of the portfolio include documentation and requirements of at least three of these categories:
    • Community Experience & Involvement;
    • Research Activities;
    • College Level Courses/Advanced or Specialized Training;
    • Community Publications, Presentations & Projects;
    • Statement of Professional Experience;
    • Achievements/Awards;
    • Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV); or
    • Performance Evaluation

Enroll in a Community Health Worker training

Contact Sarah Lawrence with the Community Health Worker Association of Rhode Island for more information about training opportunities.

Community Health Worker Association of Rhode Island

The Community Health Worker Association of Rhode Island (CHWARI) is a membership organization for community health workers and their allies. CHWARI works to strengthen the professional identity of community health workers; connect community health workers to career and leadership opportunities; and conduct advocacy to advance health equity at the grassroots level.