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Program & Research Support

Funding for community health worker (CHW) programs and research is available from a variety of foundations, organizations, and federal agencies. Most CHW programs receive support through federal or state grants and foundations. Another potential financial model is third-party reimbursement for CHW services. Several rural communities have explored third-party reimbursement for CHW’s health education services through Medicaid. Some states have expressed concern third party reimbursement would necessitate rigorous credentialing of CHWs.

For a list of current CHW funding opportunities, see the RHIhub Online Library Funding by Topic: Community Health Workers.

For information on other funders, see Funders of Rural Programs in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

Below are several examples of entities that have previously funded CHW programs and research.

Aetna Foundation
In 2009, the Aetna Foundation awarded community health grants for philanthropic initiatives focusing on delivering health education and/or increasing access to healthcare using Promotoras.

Annie E. Casey Foundation/ University of Arizona
In 1998, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the University of Arizona funded the National Community Health Advisor Study, which reached 400 CHWs across the country to identify core roles and competencies.

California HealthCare Foundation
In 2010, CHCF began building a statewide network of CHWs facilitating the exchange of information about outreach and service delivery strategies, local and statewide issues, lessons learned and best practices. Through this initiative, six regional collaboratives are charged with developing regional action plans.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC has been involved in a variety of CHW projects focusing on diabetes health promotion, including a promotoras project, diabetes education for CHWs in the Indian Health Service, and diabetes prevention and control programs involving CHWs in rural and urban communities.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
In 2010, CMS' Hispanic Health Services Research Grant Program funded research on Hispanic Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP health disparities. This program also supported promotora activities in the past.

Indian Health Service
Since 1968, IHS has trained Community Health Representatives to serve tribal populations in states including New Mexico, Alaska, and Montana, among others.

Kaiser Permanente
In the northern California area, Kaiser Permanente's Fresno-Community Benefits Program conducts a community needs assessment every three years to identify priority health issues for vulnerable populations. They have funded promotora activities in the past. In southern California, Kaiser Permanente San Diego conducted a pilot where CHWs helped expand and improve care to frail elders with dementia.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health; and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded a 2008 study exploring the use of a community health advisor to reduce cardiovascular risk among rural African American women.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)
In 2004 and 2009, RWJF provided support to promote the role of CHWs in Minnesota through the RWJF Local Funding Partnerships program.