Community Health Workers

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


What is a Community Health Worker (CHW)?

In 2016, CHW partners and stakeholders came together and agreed on the following definition (based on definitions from the American Public Health Association and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics). "A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has a demonstrated working knowledge of the community and individuals served.” Community Health Workers, also known as Navigators, Promotoras, Outreach Workers, Community Health Aids, Health Promoters, and many other names, function in a variety of roles, and are typically from the community they serve.

CHWs have an essential role on the healthcare team given their unique position to help address high-priority public health issues and the health care needs of the community.



CHWs play a vital role in healthcare teams and the communities they serve. This is especially true as we continue combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. Please click here to find resources from the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW) highlighting the many roles of CHWs as it relates to the COVID-19 response, how to partner with CHWs, and resources for CHWs.


Georgia Community Health Workers for Covid-19

COVID-19 has exacerbated chronic disease and its related risk factors (i.e., diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and smoking) for many Georgians. Factors such as the need to practice social distancing recommendations, remote working, the closing of businesses and job loss, and increased isolation contribute to a decrease in overall physical activity in communities across the state, as well as an increase in unhealthy eating practices and food insecurity. These factors put this population at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

The focus of this grant is to work with disadvantaged populations to remove barriers, create opportunities, problem-solve, and navigate resources, in addition to promoting the COVID vaccination and testing. CHWs are deployed across the state focusing on areas, such as a county or cluster of zip codes that have been severely impacted by COVID-19, to ensure the CHW's efforts have the greatest impact. CHWs are focusing on tobacco users, those with prediabetes/ diabetes, and/or pre-hypertension/hypertension, cancer, and obesity to promote the COVID-19 vaccine, COVID-19 booster, and COVID-19 testing. In addition, CHWs are working to remove barriers and connect this population with resources and opportunities that promote healthier food options and increase physical activity.


CHW Advisory Board 

The Georgia Community Health Worker (CHW) Advisory Board began in May 2017. The purpose of the Advisory Board is to help align our efforts state-wide to define, train, and certify CHWs, and to provide recognition to this growing group of professionals. The Advisory Board provides a strategic vision for Georgia’s Community Health Worker Initiative. The Advisory Board includes organizations and associations that have a state-wide focus and are geared toward addressing community health, health equity, and access to care for all. The board's recent focus has been on how to integrate CHWs into the workflow as well as how to foster a stronger and more sustainable relationship with the workforce. The Advisory Board works in collaboration with the CHW Network to develop a CHW career ladder. The Advisory Board consists of representatives from various sectors (health, public health, academia, community-based organizations, care management organizations, physicians, nursing, CHWs, and social workers).


Georgia CHW Advocacy Coalition

The Georgia CHW Advocacy Coalition was established in April 2018, to support the work of the Advisory Board. The Advocacy Coalition informs and promotes the role of the CHW in the community (to increase visibility), in addition to advocating for CHWs to be recognized as certified health professionals in the state. The Advocacy Coalition also works in collaboration with the Network to create materials for employers, supervisors, legislators, and the community regarding the role of the CHW. The CHW Advocacy Coalition is currently made up of approximately 70 members and is led by Georgia Watch.  

To join the CHW Advocacy Coalition, please send a letter of interest to the Advocacy Coalition email:

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


The CHW Advocacy Training

This will be a four-part series that will arm Georgia CHWs with resources to increase the efficacy of their organizing work and enable them to strategically mobilize marginalized communities around policy issues. The training and ongoing support will ensure that Georgia CHWs have a working knowledge of advocacy best practices, a core set of advocacy skills at different policy levels and enable them to train their peers in civic advocacy and community organizing around health equity.

For more information about the work of the Coalition or if you are interested in joining the effort, please visit:


CHW Network

In 2021, the Community Health Worker Initiative, in collaboration with its partners, launched the Georgia Community Health Worker Network. The CHW Network provides opportunities for CHWs to collaborate through meetings and learning collaboratives that support peer learning exchanges and collaborative partnerships. Participants discuss updates on local, regional, and national CHW events, activities, policy development and highlight local CHW projects. The CHW Network serves as a professional network for CHWs in Georgia. The CHW Network also advises the Advisory Board on professional development opportunities (training), and CHW career ladder development. The CHW Network also works in collaboration with the Advocacy Coalition to create materials for employers, supervisors, legislators, and the community regarding the role of the CHW.

To receive the monthly DPH CHW Newsletter, please register by clicking the link below:

CHW Newsletter Registration

Additional Resources

  Download this pdf file. 2019 Georgia CHW Stakeholder Forum Report

National Association of Community Health Workers


Page last updated 1/8/2024