Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Academy
The Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Academy provides the knowledge and skills necessary to build and strengthen Community Health Workers.
CHWs, especially in Idaho, play an important role as a bridge between traditionally under-served populations and needed health information; support and care; as well as basic and social services. Program participants gain professional skills through the Core, Advanced, Apprentice and Supervisor training programs. Specific health topic add-on modules are also available to enhance the fundamental training.
CHW Core Training Program
Become a CHW.
CHW Advanced Training
Study advanced CHW principles.
CHW Add-On Health Modules
Catalog of health topics.
CHW Apprentice Training
Become a CHW Apprentice.
CHW Supervisor Training
Become a CHW Supervisor.
CHW Mini Learning Collaboratives
Network, collaborate, and learn.
What is a Community Health Worker (CHW)?
The American Public Health Association defines a Community Health Worker (CHW) as “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:
- community education
- informal counseling
- social support
CHWs play an important role as a bridge between traditionally underserved populations and needed health information; support and care; as well as basic and social services. CHWs often assist in disease prevention as well as in addressing the following: chronic disease management, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, substance abuse, asthma and others. Key CHW roles include outreach, health education, client advocacy and empowerment, as well as health system navigation. CHWs are distinguished from other health professionals because they are hired primarily for their special connection to and understanding of the populations and communities they serve, conduct individual and community outreach a significant portion of the time, and have experience providing services in community settings.
What is the Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Academy?
The Idaho State University CHW Training Academy began as a program in 2014 when ISU received Idaho Statewide Healthcare Innovation Plan (SHIP) funding to build and fortify a CHW workforce in Idaho. The program has continued with various support from Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, HRSA, and ongoing partnership with Idaho State University Continuing Education and Workforce Training. Since 2016, the ISU CHW training effort has trained over 200 CHWs.
In 2022, the CHW program received almost 3 million dollars from HRSA in a grant to expand the CHW Training Program into a CHW Training Academy, with multifaceted support for instructors, supervisors, and continued apprentice, advanced and core CHW trainings. Recruitment and growth to reach more CHWs in rural areas in Idaho are top priorities with this positive change.
The CHW Training Academy has had a large impact in growing health care in Idaho, particularly in rural areas, where CHWs are vital to resource infiltration and health care.
How can I become a Community Health Worker?
ISU offers multiple pathways to be trained as a community health worker.
The Community Health Worker training course is designed to provide core competencies for Community Health Workers (CHWs). It includes key concepts of public health, outreach, advocacy, community and individual assessment, social determinants of health, health education, navigating insurance, stages of behavior change, service coordination and more.
Our core CHW training offered through continuing education at ISU prepares those in the workforce to gain training and a certificate of completion after finishing the course. You do not need to be an ISU student to enroll in this course. This course is offered multiple times throughout the year.
The CHW core course is delivered in a hybrid on-line web-based classroom. Classes are offered on the same weeknight for the duration of the course (Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday). Classes meet in a live online classroom three times during the thirteen weeks; during weeks 2-6, 8-12, students will be working asynchronous (self-paced). Student are also required to choose from 20+ available asynchronous Health Specific Modules and complete five by end of class. Instructors for the upcoming courses are listed on the registration site. If you have questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students successfully completing the core course and completing the course evaluation, receive a CHW Training Certificate of Completion. Continuing Education credits are also available for a small additional cost.
ISU also offers an academic Community Health Worker certificate that can be completed in one semester and with 9 credits. This option is good for those that want more enhanced CHW training and would like academic credit for their completed course work. This can be a good first step toward starting or continuing a CHW's college education, or could also be an added certificate to students already enrolled at ISU. For more information and to apply, please see here: https://www.isu.edu/
This website is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $2,994,236.00 with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.