Community Health Workers in California

This research, funded by Blue Shield of California Foundation,  examines community health workers in California. We are evaluating three high priority issues identified by key state partners around training, reimbursement, and certification.

The Affordable Care Act is significantly impacting care delivery.  This shift towards more patient-centered and cost effective care is creating innovative opportunities to reduce illness and manage the health of at-risk populations. Various care settings (e.g. hospitals, FQHCs, health plans, etc.) are integrating community health workers (CHWs) into care processes as a way to improve socioeconomic, ethnic, and health disparities. CHWs serve as a key linkage between community members and clinical services, and also advocate on behalf of communities regarding issues related to the social determinates of health. The expansion of the CHW role provides economic development opportunities within underserved communities by providing entry-level jobs for individuals who are typically underrepresented into the healthcare sector.    

Our team has gained valuable insights through key informant interviews and case studies. In addition, we collaborated with San Francisco Foundation to learn directly from organizations in the field utilizing different approaches and models.  

The products from this project include a synthesis of key findings regarding CHW training, roles, employment, and future roles in innovative delivery models. We will also develop an actionable template with recommendations for stakeholders and interested organizations to consider in future workforce planning.


Blue Shield of California Foundation

For more information, please contact Susan Chapman