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J Ambul Care Manage. 2016 Jan-Mar;39(1):2-11.

Community Health Worker Integration in Health Care, Public Health, and Policy: A Partnership Model.

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Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, Massachusetts (Mr Wilkinson); Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts (Mr Wilkinson, Dr Mason, Ms Hirsch, and Dr Zotter); Massachusetts Board of Certification of Community Health Workers, Boston, Massachusetts (Mr Wilkinson, Ms Calista, and Dr Zotter); Massachusetts Association of Community Health Worker, Boston, Massachusetts (Ms Hirsch, Ms Holt, and Ms Toledo); Center for Health Impact, Worcester, Massachusetts (Ms Calista); and Boston Association for Childbirth Education, Boston, Massachusetts (Ms Holt).


Health care systems and public health agencies are focusing increased attention on the capacity of community health workers (CHWs) to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations and to support integration of clinical and community prevention services. This article describes 3 initiatives in Massachusetts in which the state public health department has collaborated with CHW leaders, health providers, and community-based partners to develop innovative policy and services, including state certification of CHWs, integrated chronic disease programs, and a state-funded pilot program to demonstrate return on investment for community-based prevention. Concluding lessons are relevant for implementation of health care reform nation-wide.

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