For many medical conditions, community health workers (CHWs) are effective at sharing health information with patients and helping them improve their health-related behaviors. To support and improve the skills of CHWs, we developed ECHO® Community Health Worker training models for several health and medical conditions, based on the needs of providers and underserved communities around New Mexico. We created and implemented the models with input from experienced CHWs who served as ECHO’s community training facilitators.

There are many effective CHW training programs, and many studies demonstrating the effectiveness of CHWs as chronic disease managers (especially for diabetes). What is different about our model?

Our program has a diverse spectrum of training participants: rural, urban, Native American, Hispanic, white, etc., all within the same group. They are also diverse in terms of education, experience, age and languages spoken.

We have three modes of training:

  • Face-to-face training, allowing for hands-on training and practice of skills
  • Weekly videoconferences (with participants on both video and phone), which include presenting and discussing patient cases, resource sharing, networking, expert presentations, and participant learning loops
  • Video modules for material that doesn’t require interactive Q & A

We are not training for a specific intervention protocol. Rather, we have created a highly rigorous training with broad application that allows CHWs to serve in a variety of contexts (e.g., clinics, diabetes or heart health programs, home visits, elder care or assisted living centers), perform a variety of roles, learn new roles and improve their employment opportunities.

There is no cost to participants (no tuition, travel reimbursement, free IT support). The program also includes extensive evaluation.

We provide quality assurance and ongoing learning via weekly videoconferences during and following the training period. We provide both basic certification and added endorsements for specific skills that participants master.

Not a Train-the-Trainer Model