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IPHI Celebrates 19 Graduates of the CHW Core Skills Training

IPHI is excited to congratulate 19 Community Health Worker (CHW) Core Skills Training graduates facilitated from July through August in Richmond this summer. On August 29, 2018, community health workers from across Virginia completed a rigorous CHW training course that covered the foundations of health equity, public health knowledge, communication skills, care coordination, teaching & capacity building, health education and promotion, outreach strategies, advocacy, wellness, legal and ethical issues, and data collection and documentation. During this interactive and participatory class, students had the chance to learn more about these topics through guided discussions, group activities, and reflection on the health problems in their own communities. After finishing this course, each graduate was a step closer to getting the new CHW certification in Virginia.

Several CHWs spoke of how this training provided them with the skills needed to succeed as CHWs. Read their statements below.

Sean Reid: 

“My name is Sean Reid and I formally became a CHW because I truly believe that environmental and social factors can have a profound effect on an individual’s overall health. My role as a community health worker will be to bridge the gap between the population in which we serve, the health care system, and community resources. Being a community health worker means having the compassion, empathy, and capacity to relate and connect with individuals on a level which makes relationships organic. The training I’ve embarked on has been nothing less than amazing. I’ve been blessed with knowledge and understanding of various topics that prior to this training I was totally unaware and ignorant to. I’m now well equipped to perform my duties as a community health worker at an elite level.”

Greisy Fernandez Gil: 

“Being a Promotora de Salud and volunteering for different organizations that help the Spanish-speaking population living in Richmond and neighboring areas has allowed me to do outreach work and participate in several community events. While doing so, I could notice the needs a lot of people have and the fact that, even though there are many available resources, sometimes people just seem not to know where to go and look for help. That was, primarily, my motivation to become a CHW.

I find helping others very motivating and heartwarming. I believe it gives my life a deeper feeling of purpose and fulfillment. I also love learning and IPHI has offered me the opportunity, not only to do something I enjoy doing but to learn and grow as a professional. I am grateful for that.

In our training, I have met many CHWs and Outreach workers with a noticeable team-work spirit and enriching personal and professional experiences. For me, it has been a real joy to be a part of this process. Besides, the dedication our trainers put in all the work they do is very encouraging as well. I am so excited and willing to use all the skills I’ve learned so far, for the benefit of my clients.”

Celita Washington

“Growing up I have always found myself assisting others. In my early teens, I realized that it was something that I actually enjoyed doing! When you get to see the results and a smile on that person’s face is one of my greatest rewards. That’s when I realized that it was my calling to work with individuals and the community altogether to create, see and be a positive impact on other’s lives. I became a CHW because it gave me a chance to help people on a more professional level. The CHW training courses were nothing short of amazing and have allowed me to maximize on the amount of knowledge I have gained in addition to previous experiences to add to my current skill set. Having the opportunity to service the community and be one of the leading causes in change to see a rise in successful cases and positive growth within the health system in the years to come is what I seek to accomplish as a CHW. It’s of significant meaning to me to have become a CHW to help my clients hone in on addressing the social determinants and seek out healthier lifestyles for the greater good of each individual and humanity as a whole.”

Regional Update on CHW Workforce Development and Certification

CHW Certification and Workforce Development – Spring 2018 Update


Great news concerning CHW certification comes out of Maryland! Together with chapters of the Maryland CHW Network and other partners, IPHI was highly involved in the CHW certification legislation introduced during the recent legislative session. Delegate Clarence K. Lam and Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam continued to be two champions of CHW certification. With their leadership, the bill for voluntary CHW certification passed through the General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Hogan May 8, 2018. This bill establishes the State Community Health Worker Advisory Committee within the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and requires MDH to adopt specified regulations related to the training and certification of community health workers in the State. The bill also establishes the State Community Health Workers Fund.

IPHI joins the MD CHW Network and other stakeholders to witness Gov. Hogan sign the CHW certification bill into law May 8, 2018.

We at IPHI believe this a key milestone in achieving CHW sustainability in Maryland and recognize the hard work and dedication of everyone, particularly the Maryland CHWs, who worked tirelessly advocating for the bill. There is still a lot of work to be done and we look forward to partnering with MDH, The Maryland CHW Network, and other stakeholders to continue working towards CHW sustainability.

To find out more read the final bill in its entirety.


IPHI, together with the Virginia Community Health Worker Association, held a one-day forum for community health workers from across the Commonwealth of Virginia on May 18, 2018, at the Libbie Mill Library in Richmond, Virginia. The forum featured speakers with expertise in Medicaid, opioids, disabilities, housing, and equity among other key topics. The primary goals of the forum were to:

  • Train CHWs on topics such as Medicaid, opioids, cultural humility, and working with special populations;
  • Provide updates on the state of CHW workforce development in Virginia, with a special emphasis on CHW certification; and
  • Provide opportunities for CHWs from across the Commonwealth to connect with the Virginia Community Health Worker Association.

Certified Community Health Worker Credential Now Available 

IPHI is pleased to announce that a new credential for community health workers is now available through the Virginia Certification Board. Since 2012, IPHI has worked with partners in Virginia on CHW workforce development through the CHW Advisory Group, and we are proud of the progress that has been accomplished by this partnership. The credential was developed by and reviewed, approved, and supported by the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Community Health Worker Advisory Group, and the Virginia Community Health Worker Association.

Requirements for CHW certification can be found in the certification application by clicking on this link: CCHW Application. Learn more about the Virginia Certification Board online at For questions about the CCHW process, email Virginia Certification Board at [email protected]. IPHI will continue to work with partners to refine the certification process as well as to support and implement policies that advance the CHW workforce in VA.

See IPHI’s Community Health Worker Initiatives for more information or contact [email protected].

Richmond City Food Policy Analysis – Report Released

Since 2015, the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) has worked to use its expertise and experience in food access and health equity to conduct a local food policy analysis and develop policy recommendations to promote equitable access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate foods across Richmond. Recently, the analysis was completed and resulted in the report, Richmond City Food Policy Analysis. The report provides recommendations for the Virginia Department of Health, Richmond City Health District. Guided by the Richmond Food Access and Equity Task Force, the recommendations focus on two aspects of the food access issue ‐‐ urban agriculture and healthy food retail. More information on the Richmond Food Acess and Equity Task Force can be found here. The report can be found here: The Richmond Food Policy Analysis