Community health workers and promotores (CHW/Ps) — trusted members of the community who connect patients to needed health and health-related social services — are increasingly recognized as valuable contributors to the health care system. As part of a multidisciplinary health care team, these individuals serve as a bridge between patients and providers by helping patients access the resources they need, identifying and providing culturally competent care, and linking health care organizations and providers to their communities. Many states, including California, are developing policies to promote their employment and deployment, including those relating to training and certification.

This webinar, led by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) and made possible through support from California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), shared findings from a recently released national scan that examines a range of state approaches to increase engagement of CHW/Ps. Drawing from research and interviews with CHW/P subject matter experts within California and across the country, the webinar highlighted opportunities for California to enhance the professional recognition of CHW/Ps through training and certification, and explore lessons from states for building a sustainable CHW/P workforce.


I. Welcome and Introduction

Speaker: Kathy Moses, MPH, Senior Fellow, CHCS; Carlina Hansen, MS, Senior Program Officer, CHCF

K. Moses welcomed participants and provide an overview of the webinar. C. Hansen described CHCF’s role and interest in the intersection of CHW/Ps and health care.

II. Enhancing the Professional Recognition of CHW/Ps to Build a Sustainable Workforce

Speakers: Kathy Moses, CHCS

K. Moses shared lessons from a recently published report on the roles of CHW/Ps, opportunities to enhance professional recognition of CHW/Ps through training and certification, and examples from other states. This presentation also addressed the impact to the profession due to, and potential opportunities created by, the COVID-19 pandemic.

III. Reactions from the Field

Speakers: Heidi Behforouz, MD, Medical Director, Housing for Health, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; Joseph Calderon, CHW, Lead Community Health Worker, Transitions Clinic Network 

Reactors responded to the opportunities and considerations described in the report from their perspectives working in the field as or alongside CHW/Ps.

IV. Moderated Q&A

Moderator: Kathy Moses, CHCS