Sixth National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations: Peer-to-Peer Practice Advancement Sessions Healthcare Education Industry Partnership, Minnesota Community Health Worker Project

B-5 Straight to the people: Community health worker advances in training, practice, and policy

Healthcare Education Industry Partnership, Minnesota Community Health Worker Project
Monday, September 22, 2008: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM, Minn Marriott, 8th Floor - Wayzata/Gray's Bay
Minnesota Community Health Worker Project
Who We Are
Minnesota’s Community Health Worker Project is a statewide initiative whose mission is to reduce cultural and linguistic barriers to health care, improve quality and cost effectiveness of care, and increase the number of healthcare workers who come from diverse backgrounds or underserved communities.  Community Health Workers come from the communities they serve, working at the grassroots level building trust and vital relationships which make them effective culture brokers between their own communities and systems of care.  CHWs;
  • Teach navigation through the healthcare system - increasing healthcare access
  • Educate health care knowledge – lowering health disparities
  • Bridge the gap between cultures and healthcare systems – improving health outcomes
Project Innovation
This project is a coalition of partners (educators, health care industry, healthcare payers, public and private organizations & CHWs) who are committed to improving the system of delivering healthcare services to all persons in Minnesota.  This project:
  • Developed and implemented a statewide standardized curriculum to educate CHWs in Minnesota;
  • Developed professional standards or "scope of practice" for  CHWs, which defines their position in the health care delivery system;
  • Created a sustainable employment market, incorporating CHWs into the health care workforce;
  • Passed legislation which allows the services of CHWs in Minnesoto to be reimbursable under Medicaid.  Other than Alaska, Minnesota is the only state who been able to accomplish this.   
Project Accomplishments
  • Developed and implemented an 11 credit statwide standardized Community Health Worker Curriculum. 
  • 2005 – 2007 enrolled 211 students into the CHW training:
    • 145 students graduated and received a certificate which makes their services eligible for reimbursement;
    • 42 graduates employed into newly created CHW jobs;
    • created over 70 new jobs for CHWs in Minnesota;
    • 62 were awarded scholarships provided through funding partners .
  • Successfully advocated for passage of new Minnesota Legislation mandating Medicaid reimbursement for Community Health Workers to begin in 2008.
  • Published workforce analysis, outcome analysis and other national studies, which are building foundational support for the Community Health Worker position.
  • Published the Minnesota Community Health Worker Curriculum which is being sold nationally.

This session will provide  a brief overview of the projects activities to advance the role of the CHWs in public and private sectors across Minnesota and at the National level.  We will offer our expertise on how to duplicate this model in other states at the policy and workforce level.  Our curriculum is published and on sale and will be available for participants.  We will also share our strategy on our process on being successful in passing legislation for reimbursement at both the state and national level

This presentation will also share the CHW pathways that are being developed working with the American Dental Association to create the Community Dental Health Coordinator and with the Community Healthcare and Emergency Cooperative to create the Community Paramedic positions.

  • Amended_legislation_0508[1].pdf (24.8 kB)
  • LIFP one page project summary3.doc (327.0 kB)
  • PHY-08-02.doc (897.5 kB)
  • Presentation Information:

    Program: Peer-to-Peer Practice Advancement Sessions
    Primary Category: Culturally Competent Care
    Subtopics: Clinical interactions, Patient education, Community health education, Curricula development, Disparity reduction, Access in underserved communities, eg, rural, urban, Federal, State, Implementing disparity reduction programs, Organizational plans, policies, management strategies, Workforce diversity, Quality improvement, Patient safety

    Region Addressed by Presentation: National
    Organization: Health Care System
    Keywords: Community Health Workers, curriculum, Improving health outcomes, Legislation to reimburse CHWs, Lowering health disparities


    Anne Willaert, BS, MS , Healthcare Education Industry Partnership/Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, Mankato, MN
      Director of Project Design and Development
      Healthcare Education Industry Partnership/Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System
      1702 Highland Center
      Mankato MN, USA 56001

      Phone: 507-389-2590
      Fax: 507-389-2590
      Email Address:

      Biographical Sketch:
      Anne Willaert, BS, MS, is the Director of Program Design and Development with the Healthcare Education Industry Partnership (HEIP) a project under Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Through her work at HEIP Anne develops partnerships between higher education and healthcare industry to form solutions to meet the increased and critical needs in the healthcare workforce. Anne currently is managing four statewide healthcare projects, one of which is directing the Minnesota Community Health Worker Project. The Minnesota CHW project has developed and publishing an 11-credit core curriculum and successfully advocated for passage of new Minnesota Legislation mandating Medicaid reimbursement for Community Health Workers to begin January 2008. Anne is also directing a regionally based simulation project in southern Minnesota called the Greater-Mankato Regional Simulation Project. The projects focus is on developing a regional healthcare simulation center to enhance education and training for health professionals and those entering the multidisciplinary fields related to health care. Before coming to work for HEIP, Anne did consultant work and created two local non-profit organizations.

    Pandora White, RN , Northpoint Health and Wellness Center, Minneapolis, MN
      Clinical Manager
      Northpoint Health and Wellness Center
      1313 Penn Avenue North
      Minneapolis MN, USA 55411

      Phone: 612-348-4700
      Email Address:

      Biographical Sketch:
      Pam is the clinical manager at Northpoint Health and Wellness Center. She is in charge of the Community Health Workers. Through her work in three years she has increase the use of CHWs from zero to 13.

    Grace Anderson, BS, Org, Man , Human Services Public Heath Department, Hennepin County, Minneapolis, MN
      Senior Community Health Worker
      Hennepin County
      Human Services Public Heath Department
      710 West Broadway
      Minneapolis MN, USA 56001

      Phone: 507-389-2590
      Email Address:

      Biographical Sketch:
      Grace has been a Community Health Worker Since 1993 to present. Presently she is the chair of the Minnesota Community Health Worker Network.