Georgia Community Health Worker Initiative (CHWI)

The CHW initiative is a collaborative effort driven by partners and stakeholders across the state of Georgia.


CHWs play an important role in the health teams and the communities they serve. This is especially true during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Please click this link ( to find resources from the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW) covering the many roles of CHWs in relation to COVID-19 highlight response, how to work with CHWs, and resources for CHWs.

What is a Community Health Worker?

A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline health worker who is a trusted member of the community and those affected and / or who has a proven track record of work skills. Also known as Navigators, Promoters, Outreach Workers, Community Health Aids, Health Promoters, and many other names, they have a variety of roles, and usually come from the community they serve. CHWs play an essential role on the health team because of their unique position to help address public health issues and high priority community health care.

The role of a CHW is unique in that it is able to build trusting relationships with populations who have greater needs and face greater barriers to entry into the health system, and because they serve as an essential link between the community and the medical and public health systems . CHWs act as professional members of the health team and take on the range of roles and tasks that they are capable of. In many states and as part of federal health policy, CHWs are recognized as “Primary Care Professionals”.

How the CHW initiative began

In 2016, the Georgia Department of Public Health, along with Kaiser Permanente, United Way of Atlanta, Grady Health System, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta Regional Coalition (ARC), and Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI), sponsored a CHW forum attended by around 130 stakeholders. The forum included presentations on CHW models used in other countries, a discussion of proposed definitions for the term CHW in Georgia, information on the existing wide range of CHW programs, approaches and policies in Georgia, and basic training needs for CHWs.

On the recommendation and support of the forum participants to continue the discussion, the steering committee, which consists of the organizations mentioned in the previous paragraph, has undertaken to facilitate coordinated efforts to develop a model that would promote and maintain the integration of CHWs in health and health care Service organizations.

To date, there have been three (3) Community Health Worker Stakeholder Forums (2016, 2017, 2019), each focused on promoting and supporting the CHW workforce in the state. For more information on each forums, see the Resources section at the bottom of this page.

CHW advisory board

In May 2017, individuals from across the state were selected to serve on the Georgia Community’s Health Workers Advisory Board. The purpose of the Advisory Board is to align our efforts nationwide to define, train and certify CHWs and to bring recognition to this growing group of professionals.

Individuals were selected based on nominations received by the community health staff steering team and their experience or interest in working with CHWs. The board members represent the following areas: health systems, health plans, science, community-based organizations, advocacy, rural health, government, doctors, nursing, public health, social work, law, and most importantly, community health workers.

The Advisory Board was responsible for finalizing the state definition for CHWs and developing a draft of the Georgia Community Health Worker Consensus Report (2017).

Georgia CHW Advocacy Coalition

The GA CHW Advocacy Coalition was founded in April 2018 to support the work of the advisory board. This is done by informing and promoting the role of the CHW in the community (visibility) and by advocating the recognition of CHWs as certified health workers in the state. The coalition currently consists of about 70 members and is led by Georgia Watch. Further information on the work of the coalition or if you are interested in participating can be found at:

From August 2020, several partners will organize a series of virtual CHW talks, professional development opportunities and lawyer training together with DPH. The virtual series is aimed at CHWs. If you are a CHW please plan to join us or if you know a CHW please share this information. Please see below for more details.

CHW Virtual conversation, career development and advocacy series

From August 2020, several partners will organize a series of virtual CHW talks, professional development opportunities and lawyer training together with DPH. The virtual series is aimed at CHWs.

If you are a CHW please plan to join us or if you know a CHW please share this information. Please see below for more details.

CHW conversations

The CHW Advocacy Coalition and its partners are intensifying their efforts to reach, engage and network all CHWs in Georgia. The aim is to strengthen the CHW profession and support the growth and development of all CHWs in the country. CHW Conversations is a virtual platform developed and supported by CHWs for Georgia’s CHWs. It is designed to connect and support the networking and exchange of knowledge and information about experiences, roles, projects and self-care activities.

Please email [email protected] for more information and to join the discussion.

Georgia CHW professional development opportunities

This is a series of webinars that provide community health workers with the opportunity to develop professionally in a variety of areas of focus. The series is designed to increase awareness and understanding of participants and to provide resources for everyday use. Available topics are as follows:

  • Limit setting for CHWs (self-sufficiency)
  • The basics of asthma control
  • Evidence-based home visits (mother and child health)
  • Breast and cervical cancer screening – the role of the CHW

For more information on this series, please contact [email protected].

The CHW Advocacy Training

This will be a four-part series that will equip Georgian CHWs with resources to increase the effectiveness of their organizing work and enable them to strategically mobilize marginalized communities on political issues. The training and ongoing support will ensure that the CHWs in Georgia have a working knowledge of best advocacy practices, a core set of advocacy skills at various political levels, and enable them to engage their colleagues in civic advocacy and community organization around health equity schools.

The CHW Advocacy Training will take place in autumn 2020. Exact dates will follow.

For more information on of the Community Health Worker Initiative, please call 404-463-5107

Files and resources

/ document / publication / 2016-chw-forum-meeting-summary-revisedpdf / download

Download this pdf file.
/ document / publication / 2017-georgia-community-health-worker-forum-summarypdf / download

Download this pdf file.
/ document / publication / 2019-georgia-chw-stakeholder-forum-report-finalpdf / download

National Association of Community Health Workers:

Page last updated on 01/26/2021