Establishing voluntary certification of community health workers in Arizona: a policy case study of building a unified workforce

Authors: Ingram M, Sabo S, Redondo F, Soto Y, Russell K, Carter H, Bender B, and Guernsey de Zapien J
Year: 2020
State: AZ
Website link:
Publicly Available: Yes
Certification: Administration - certification boards state health departments etc., CHW input in process, CHW role scope of practice, Competencies, General other, Legislative language bills etc., Lessons learned from other states, Process and development, State input in process
Evidence Generation: Surveys and assessment tools to define and develop workforce
Policy: Building partnerships, General language around CHW WD, Identifying policy expertise within state
Sustainable Financing: Engaging state partners in general
Workforce Development: General other (including mention of “employment practices”), Promotores, Recruiting and convening CHWs stakeholders

In this article, we describe the process of unifying the two major CHW workforces in Arizona, promotoras de salud in US-Mexico border communities and community health representatives (CHRs) serving American Indian communities. Differences in the origins, financing, and even language of the population-served contributed to historically divergent interests between CHRs and promotoras. In order to move forward as a collective workforce, it was imperative to integrate the perspectives of CHRs, who have a regular funding stream and work closely through the Indian Health Services, with those of promotoras, who are more likely to be grant-funded in community-based efforts. As a unified workforce, CHWs were better positioned to gain advocacy support from key health care providers and health insurance companies with policy influence. We seek to elucidate the lessons learned in our process that may be relevant to CHWs representing diverse communities across the US and internationally.

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