Training and Certification

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To encourage the training and development of community health workers, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) worked with South Suburban College and Malcolm X College to develop basic, associate and advanced certification for community health workers as part of associate degree programs. Enrollment in these programs and the expansion of these types of programs to other community colleges is greatly encouraged.

Community health workers work on the front lines of public health to develop trust and understanding with members of the communities they serve. Establishing these relationships enables them to encourage community members to access services regularly and to improve the quality and cultural competency of health and social service delivery. Their duties include activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.

Illinois Community Health Worker Advisory Board

The Illinois Department of Public Health appointed a 15-member Illinois Community Health Worker Advisory Board to advise the governor, IDPH and the legislature on all matters impacting the effective work of community health workers across the state, including the training and certification processes.

The board is developing a report with its recommendations regarding the certification process of community health workers, best practices, and reimbursement options. The report will include proposed curricula, ensuring that the content, methodology, development and delivery are appropriately based on cultural and geographic needs and reflect relevant responsibilities for community health workers.

The board is composed of eight community health workers from across the state. The remaining seven members consist of individuals representing healthcare and social services, health workforce policy, and institutions of higher education. Board members include the following:

Mary Ann Abate, MS, LSW
Vice President Public Policy, Rosecrane Health Network

Teresa Berumen, Community Health Worker
Community Health Promoter, Enlace Chicago

Leticia Boughton, BA, Community Health Worker
Network Coordinator, Chicago Community Health Worker Local Network

Monica Dillon, RN, Community Health Worker
Community/Public Health Nurse Project Manager, Loyola University School of Nursing

Christopher Garcia, Community Health Worker
Advocate/Benefits Case Manager, Champaign County Health Care Consumers

Melissa Gutierrez Kapheim, MS
Project Director/Epidemiologist 2, Sinai Urban Health Institute

Geraldine Hardy, Community Health Worker
Team Lead/Program Clerk, Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation

Janel Hughes-Jones, Community Health Worker
Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, Will County Health Department

Estela Lazo, Community Health Worker
Outreach Specialist, Will County Health Department

Hong Liu, PhD
Executive Director, Midwest Asian Health Coalition

Molly Martin, MD, MAPP
Associate Professor, Pediatrics and the Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lizette Martinez, Community Health Worker
Peers for Progress Coordinator, Alivio Medical Center

Tamela Milan, BA, Community Health Worker
Maternal & Child Health Outreach, Access Community Health

Amy Sagen, BA
Assistant Director for Health Policy & Strategy, University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System

Jeffery Waddy, DrPHc, MsEd, MCHES
Dean of Allied Health and Sciences, South Suburban College

Training and Certification