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CHW Health Disparities Initiative

1 Plan Your Program

Are you thinking about starting a heart health program engaging community health workers?

Want Examples?

You will find the stories and ideas of organizations running heart health programs throughout this toolkit.

NHLBI designed these heart health materials with community health workers (CHWs) in mind. Since 1994, CHWs have used these resources in communities across the country to implement heart health programs.

To build an effective CHW heart health program, make sure you know how to:

What if you do not have CHWs on staff and do not intend to start a CHW program?

You will still find many ways that our materials can work for you and your education needs. For example, you can use our materials for health outreach, education, and special events. You can also share different materials, like cookbooks and handouts, with your patients and clients.

“We have credibility. In my case, I live in the same neighborhood where I work. I practice what I teach. I give people the time they need to learn.” —Esperanza Vasquez, describing her role as CHW in El Paso, Texas

Find Training for CHWs

Are your CHWs trained to be trainers?

It is important to train your CHWs in heart health. You will also need to train them in other skills. These include core competenciesexternal disclaimer such as doing outreach, being effective educators and presenters, and providing cultural awareness. Building heart health and other skills will help your CHWs be competent and confident trainers and teachers.

Here are some tips to find CHW training in your area:

  • Contact CHW networks, associations, or other CHW groups in your area. They support CHWs through training and advocacy. They will know about certification programs, conferences, and trainings. The Community Health Worker National Education Collaborativeexternal disclaimer provides a list of national and state networks and associations.
  • Check to see if community colleges in your area teach CHW courses.
  • Use CHW tools developed by organizations experienced in training and supervising CHWs. You may find the following sample tools useful for your program. [These sample tools do not represent the views of the NHLBI or the Federal Government. Be sure to check proprietary rights before using them.]

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Last Updated: June 2014