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State Certification

The Board of Certification of Community Health Workers was established through an act of the legislature, Chapter 322 of the Acts of 2010, and signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick on August 31, 2010, with an effective date of January 1, 2012.  It was created as a result of state health care reform and is intended to help integrate community health workers into the health care and public health systems in order to promote health equity, cost containment, quality improvement, and management and prevention of chronic disease. The Board will establish standards for the education and training of community health workers and community health worker trainers, standards for the education and training program curricula for community health workers, and requirements for community health worker certification and renewal of certification. It is chaired by a designee of the commissioner of the Department of Public Health and includes ten additional members appointed by the governor and nominated by organizations named in the authorizing legislation. 

The Board held its first meeting on July 17, 2012. Board meetings are scheduled in advance and are open to the public. Click on Board Calendar for the schedule of upcoming meetings.

Core Competencies

MACHW will be hosting informational forums across the state to inform CHWs about certification details and to involve CHWs in recommending possible revisions to the draft regulations. STAY TUNED for further announcements from MACHW about how to be involved.  The Board has developed the following DRAFT recommendations for certification:

  1. A very detailed description of core competencies (what certified CHWs must be able to know and do) to serve as the foundation for competency-based certification:
  • Outreach Methods and Strategies
  • Individual and Community Assessment
  • Effective Communication
  • Cultural Responsiveness and Mediation
  • Education to Promote Healthy Behavior Change
  • Care Coordination and System Navigation
  • Use of Public Health Concepts and Approaches
  • Advocacy and Community Capacity Building
  • Documentation
  • Professional Skills and Conduct

View Massachusetts Board of Certification of Community Health Workers Core Competencies for Community Health Workers Revised and Approved by the Board on May 13, 2014

2.  There will initially be two pathways for individual CHWs to become certified:

  • A combination of training and work experience (80 hours of training in a combination of core competencies and special health topics from a state-approved training program plus 2000 hours of relevant work experience over the 10 years prior to application); OR
  • 4000 of relevant work experience over the 10 years prior to application. (This is a “grandfathering” option for experienced CHWs who didn’t graduate from a core competency training program like those offered by OWTI in Worcester or CHEC Boston and CHEC Lowell, the Western MA Public Health Training Center, and the Patient Navigator hybrid course by MDPH and the CDC.  This “work only” pathway will be phased out 3 years after the state certification program actually begins.)

View Proposed Pathways to CHW Certification in Massachusetts