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Rural Health Information Hub

Training Materials for Community Health Worker Programs

Many programs have developed training materials to ensure community health workers (CHWs) learn the skills necessary to serve the target population. These programs have adapted materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), federal and state agencies, and academic institutions. Partnerships between college systems, communities, and employers are often involved in the development of a CHW training curriculum. Training materials should be consistent with program goals and expectations of CHWs. CHWs may also receive materials, such as manuals and presentations, which they can distribute to the community.

Examples of training materials used by rural CHW programs include:

  • The California State Office of Rural Health and the California Department of Public Health's Office of Binational Border Health partnered to implement a training curriculum developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide education and tools to CHWs about exposure to pesticides. After the training, CHWs delivered information and resources to migrant, seasonal, and agricultural workers in the community.
  • ASPIN's Certified Recovery Specialist Program offers e-learning for CHWs. The program trains CHWs in navigating insurance enrollment, delivering mental health services, and managing chronic conditions.

The Community Health Workers in Rural Settings topic guide provides a list of common components of CHW training materials, which includes:

  • Cultural competence
  • Patient intake and assessment
  • Protocol delivery
  • Screening recommendations
  • Risk factors
  • Insurance eligibility and enrollment
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Advocacy skills
  • Health promotion
  • Disease prevention and management
  • Programmatic data collection and evaluation

Some states may require legal and ethical training regarding CHW activities, and training designed to help CHWs understand the liabilities associated with their duties.

When possible, programs should evaluate training to determine the appropriateness and effectiveness of the training. This can include assessing the skills and knowledge at baseline and after training, as well as participant satisfaction with the training.

Resources to Learn More

Accompagnateurs Training Guide
Describes a pilot curriculum for accompagnateurs: community health workers who are trained and employed to provide medical and psychosocial support for patients with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Organization(s): Partners in Health

CHW Core Competency Course
Includes information about an 80 hour curriculum for CHWs providing them with the knowledge to engage their patients in their healthcare, adhere to their treatment, and achieve better health outcomes.
Organization(s): Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center

Community Health Worker Orientation Toolkit
Outlines the orientation process for training CHWs working in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Covers policies and procedures, job descriptions, documentation and data collection standards, communication standards, and education guidelines.
Organization(s): Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Date: 2/2017

Community Health Worker Training
Provides information about the training programs available to CHWs offered through the Institute for Public Health Innovation.
Organization(s): Institute for Public Health Innovation

A Community Health Worker Training Manual Resource for Preventing Heart Disease and Stroke
Presents an evidence-based, user-friendly curriculum for CHWs to increase their skills in preventing heart disease, stroke, and the associated risk factors.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Community Health Worker Toolkit
Provides a variety of resources related to training CHWs including a toolkit manual, a template to document encounters with community members, and instructions on using a flipchart for educational instruction.
Organization(s): NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center

Outreach Manual: A Guide for Farmworker Health Outreach Staff
Provides guidance on incorporating outreach workers into farmworker health programs to support and assist in the provision of health assessments, screening, case management, and health education services.
Organization(s): North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Rural Health and Community Care, North Carolina Farmworker Health Program
Date: Updated 7/2012

Resources and Reference Materials for Community Health Worker Programs
Consists of a series of free, downloadable resources including guides and templates for planning, implementing, and evaluating CHW programs. Many resources are available in Spanish.
NOTE: To access all Migrant Health Promotion materials, you must create a free user account with them
Organization(s): MHP Salud