A snapshot of community health worker training in the United States

Jessica Uriarte, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This study examines the training and education of Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the United States. The National Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) collected data on the training provided by seventy-seven CHW training centers across the United States. This study sought to answer two questions: What are the themes in CHW training from a national perspective? How are the characteristics of the training centers related to the themes taught by that training center? To answer these questions, a qualitative analysis was conducted to establish fifteen training themes from training content from across the country. Then three characteristics of training centers – the setting (rural or non-rural), the academic affiliation and the geographic location – were described in detail. Finally, the relationship between each of these characteristics and the fifteen training themes was explored. This study found that Health Knowledge was the most frequently taught theme in the nation, followed by Working in a Professional Environment and Working with the Community. Many themes discovered reinforced elements of previous national work to examine CHW skills, such as the 2014 C3 Project. The setting in which training centers are located, as well as whether or not training centers were affiliated with an academic institution varied across the eight public health regions represented by this data. Despite the diversity in training center characteristics, the content of CHW training was found to be more similar than different across the characteristics of setting, academic affiliation and geographic region. The author of this study recommends that CHWs, trainers of CHWs and policy makers interested in the training of CHWs reflect on the differences and similarities of CHW training discussed in this work. This findings of this study contribute to the ongoing national conversation on the training of CHWs. Further research is needed to examine the methodologies used in CHW trainings across various regions, as well as a better understanding of how professional certification effects training content. Additional studies should also examine how apprenticeship skills-training occurs within this profession and what learning outcomes can be measured from CHW training.^

Subject Area

Public health education

Recommended Citation

Uriarte, Jessica, "A snapshot of community health worker training in the United States" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10027840.