Winning policy change to promote community health workers: lessons from massachusetts in the health reform era

Am J Public Health. 2011 Dec;101(12):2211-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300402. Epub 2011 Oct 20.


There is a national movement among community health workers (CHWs) to improve compensation, working conditions, and recognition for the workforce through organizing for policy change. As some of the key advocates involved, we describe the development in Massachusetts of an authentic collaboration between strong CHW leaders of a growing statewide CHW association and their public health allies. Collaborators worked toward CHW workforce and public health objectives through alliance building and organizing, legislative advocacy, and education in the context of opportunities afforded by health care reform. This narrative of the path to policy achievements can inform other collaborative efforts attempting to promote a policy agenda for the CHW workforce across the nation.

MeSH terms

  • Certification
  • Community Health Workers* / education
  • Community Health Workers* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Community Health Workers* / standards
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Health Care Reform / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Massachusetts
  • Policy*
  • Public Health Administration
  • Societies