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A Guide to Implementing a Community Health Worker (CHW) Program in the Context of HIV Care

January 2020

Boston University School of Social Work Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health

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Guide detailing how to implement a Community Health Worker (CHW) program in various HIV health care settings. Sections cover organizational infrastructure, recruiting, hiring, training, supervision, service delivery, evaluation, and more. More specifically, sections include:

  1. Setting up Systems for CHW Workforce to Deliver HIV Care and Treatment
  2. CHW Recruiting and Hiring
  3. Orientation and Training of CHWs, Supervisors, and Staff
  4. CHW Integration into the HIV Care Team
  5. CHW Supervision
  6. Quality Improvement and Evaluation of CHW Programs and Interventions
  7. Professional Development: Certification and Financing

The appendices include an extensive collection of tools: reference table of roles and skills, reference table of roles and the HIV care continuum, quick start handout, sample job descriptions, list of states with CHW certification and training programs, list of state CHW associations, list of AIDS Education and Training Centers, sample CHW program tools and forms, sample care plan forms, sample CHW encounter forms, sample supervision tools, sample situation debrief guide, examples of quality improvement activities.

About CHWs

CHWs are increasingly recognized as important members of the primary health care workforce in helping link and retain clients in HIV care. They can carry out this role as frontline workers who are trusted members of the community who, often, share similar socio-economic, cultural, linguistic, and other identities as the people they serve. CHWs have been shown to improve access to care and health outcomes for people living with a variety of chronic health conditions, particularly among populations at high risk for health inequities.

This guide is the product of a three-year initiative, Improving Access to Care: Using Community Health Workers to Improve Linkage and Retention in HIV Care, based at Boston University’s Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health with ten participating Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program demonstration sites.

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