What is a Community Health Worker?

             A CHW is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or
has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting
relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between
health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and
improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A community
health worker also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health
knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach,
community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy.


Reduce Cost

Community health workers (CHWs) help patients prevent costly medical expenses by supporting self-management and coaching patients in disease prevention.

Improve Care

Community health workers (CHWs) help patients adhere to provider recommendations by connecting them to community-based resources.

Advance Quality

Community health workers (CHWs) help to reduce educational, cultural, and language barriers between patients and healthcare providers which is vital to quality care.  

The CCHW Profession

Community health workers (CHW) deliver culturally-competent, strengths-based, trauma-informed, family-centered case management services. CHWs provide individual and family-centered health education on disease prevention and management as well as referrals and linkage to other services and resources as needed. These services may be delivered in health care settings such as hospitals or clinics, client homes, and/or by phone. In order to be successful as a CHW, it is recommended that an individual seek formal CHW training.

INCHWA, as an agent of the Indiana State Department of Health, certifies vendors who wish to deliver formal CHW education. Each INCHWA-approved Training Vendor must meet strict requirements built around both national and Indiana core competencies and skills defined in the CHW scope of practice. An individual becomes a Certified Community Health Worker (CCHW) by successfully completing a training course offered by an INCHWA-approved Training Vendor. 

Becoming a CCHW is beneficial to securing employment as a CHW in Indiana. Employers prefer this professional certification when hiring candidates, and certification is required for reimbursement by Medicaid.

For a list of INCHWA-approved Training Vendors, see the Education tab.

What is INCHWA:

The Indiana Community Health Workers Association (INCHWA) is a professional association advocating for the community health workers of Indiana.


INCHWA's mission is to support the workforce of Indiana's CHWs through a unified voice with the vision to build healthy communities by advancing the CHW profession through evidence-based strategies, education, and advocacy. 

INCHWA's goals are to:

  • Promote CHWs and their role on the healthcare team;
  • Educate CHWs, healthcare professionals, employers, community members and stakeholders; and
  • Advocate for CHWs alongside local and statewide policymakers. 


The purpose of the initiative is to seek greater clarity on the existing statewide infrastructure of and support for community health workers (CHWs) as a means of formally integrating CHWs into the health care delivery system. By becoming a member, you gain access to live and on-demand specialty training opportunities, CHW resources, networking and leadership opportunities, and information on best practices to keep you up-to-date so that you can best serve your community.

Organizational Members

Public Health in Indiana

Top 5 Disparities in Indiana

As of June of 2018, the top 5 health disparities in Indiana are: Opioid Abuse, Tobacco Use, Infant Mortality, Obesity, and Diabetes. Although Indiana has much work to do in combatting these disparities, the good news is that CHWs can help! To date, CHWs have proven effective in collaborating with multi-disciplinary healthcare and social service…

Social Determinants of Health

Often individuals aren’t simply just unhealthy. Rather, there are social and environmental factors that prevent them from being able to be healthy. The World Health Organization describes social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and…

County Health Rankings

The annual County Health Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work, and play.  Not only do County Health Rankings provide a snapshot of health outcomes– length of life and quality of life, it more importantly provides information on the following health factors: Health behaviors: tobacco use,…