CHW Common Indicators Project

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CHW Common Indicators Project

The purpose of the Community Health Worker Common Indicators (CI) Project is to contribute to the integrity, sustainability and viability of CHW programs.

The Problem

Despite progress in documenting the outcomes of Community Health Worker (CHW) interventions, the lack of standardized measures to assess CHW practice has made it impossible to aggregate data across programs and regions, impeding commitment to sustainable, long-term financing of CHW programs. Lack of easy-to-use indicators hampers the ability of many community-based programs to reliably report outcomes to funders. Lack of attention to the processes by which CHWs achieve outcomes has made it difficult to conclusively demonstrate the importance of particular CHW roles, skills, and qualities. Finally, while CHWs have sometimes been involved as data collectors, they have seldom been engaged as full partners in all stages of research.

History of the National CHW Common Indicators Project

Responding to this set of problems, in 2013, members of the Michigan CHW Alliance (MiCHWA) began the process of creating a common set of evaluation indicators and measures to understand the unique contributions of CHWs to successful program outcomes and their added value to health care and human services systems. In 2015, CHWs and researchers in Oregon brought MiCHWA colleagues together with partners from three additional states and founded the national CHW Common Indicators (CI) Project.


Over the past 5 years, the project has built a national constituency of over 150 CHWs, CHW program staff, and CHW researchers and evaluators committed to project objectives. Through a series of stakeholder engagement activities, project partners have identified a list of 24 constructs and developed indicators for 10 of the constructs. They have shared information about the project through conference presentations and publications. Going forward, the project partners intend to prepare necessary tools and pilot the indicators, while continuing to strengthen their CHW-led and community-based project methodology, and building the infrastructure to allow them to aggregate, analyze and report data from across regions.

Team Roles and Positionality

The CI Project now involves over 150 people including CHW leaders; deans and faculty at universities; community-based researchers/evaluators; leaders at county, state and federal health agencies; health system leaders; and leaders of culturally specific community-based organizations employing CHWs in more than 20 states.

CHW Common Indicators Project Leadership Team and CHW Council, 2020-2021

Keara Rodela (she/her) is the current Community and Public Health Programs Supervisor for the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO). She earned her Master of Public Health in Global Maternal Child Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, holds a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from Portland State University, and was part of the 2nd We Are Health, Afro-centric CHW Training.

Keara is a Black, Queer woman who is committed to redressing the social determinants of health affecting her communities, utilizing the Community Health Worker model, popular education philosophy, and a racial equity lens. She has held various roles in her 19 years in the health field, and the honor of championing the CHW profession and contributing to the creation of an assessment toolkit to support CHWs’ professional development, through her role on the national Community Health Worker Core Consensus (C3) Project, Phase 2 Assessment Advisory Group and the CHW Common Indicators Project.

Pennie Jewell (she/her): Pennie Jewell is a Community Health Representative for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi in Fulton, Michigan where she has served the Tribal community for the last six years. She is also a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician with an additional training in Special Needs Transportation. Pennie received her Associate Degree in Human Services from Kellogg Community College and she is a current member of MiCHWA, NACHW, and RCHWN. Pennie has been a strong advocate for the use of CHW/CHRs during her time with NHBP and has spent almost her entire career involved in case management and advocacy.

Victoria Adewumi Victoria Adewumi is an equity communicator and network leader, supporting neighborhood-based interventions for community health and wellbeing. Victoria works as the Community Liaison/CHW for the City of Manchester, NH Health Department and was part of the first class of trained Community Health Workers in the state of New Hampshire. For her entire carrer, Victoria has connected historically marginalized communities with greater social, physical, and environmental supports to facilitate resident self-empowerment. A New Hampshire native, Victoria holds a B.A/M.A. in Political Science and International Affairs from the University of New Hampshire and is a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Fellow currently pursuing an MPH in Adolescent Health.

Susan Mayfield-Johnson (she/her) is an Associate Professor in the School of Health Professions at The University of Southern Mississippi. Born in Korea, Susan grew up the child of a military service member and lived in various states and countries throughout her childhood. Her research focuses on CHWs, racially diverse and underserved populations, health disparities, women’s health, and qualitative research designs. She has a strong commitment to community engagement in public health educational programs and practice in participatory action research for improving community health. She serves on the Advisory Board of the National Association of Community Health Workers and as an Advisor to the CHW Section of the American Public Health Association.

Kenneth Maes (he/him): I’m an associate professor of anthropology, faculty union organizer, and director of the Applied Anthropology Graduate Program at Oregon State University. I’ve been a member of the Common Indicators Project leadership team since 2015. As a medical anthropologist, I’m part of a diverse network of researchers in the US and around the world, and train graduate students in mixed methods research in healthcare settings. As an ethnographer, I aim to carefully document the process and impacts of the Common Indicators Project.

Noelle Wiggins (she/her) is an independent consultant who teams up with others to do participatory research and evaluation work. Noelle lived and worked in rural El Salvador from 1986-1990, where she learned about community health workers (CHWs) and popular (people’s) education. Noelle spent 5 years working with CHWs in rural Oregon. She served as Assoc. Director of the Natl. Community Health Advisor Study and co-researched and wrote the study chapter that identified the original 7 core roles of CHWs. Noelle co-founded and directed the Community Capacitation Center for 19 years. Noelle has a BA in History, an MS in Public Health, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Emerita Members of the Leadership Team

Gloria Palmisano: Mrs. Palmisano serves as the Program Manager for Chronic Care Management at CHASS Center, Inc. since 2001. In this capacity, she has managed the diabetes related research conducted at CHASS in collaboration with various community and academic partners. She has co-authored numerous publications on type 2 diabetes, and advocates to promote the principals of community based participatory research, and the use of a community health worker model to address racial and ethnic health disparities.

Edith Kieffer: Professor Edith C. Kieffer, MPH, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, University of Michigan School of Social Work, conducts research addressing health and health care disparities. Using community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches, she and collaborators have evaluated the effectiveness of Detroit-based community health worker (CHW) programs in improving the health of pregnant and postpartum women, and people with, and at risk for, type 2 diabetes. Kieffer is a founder of the CHW Common Indicators Project that seeks to identify and put into practice a multi-level set of common CHW evaluation indicators and measures. Kieffer is a founder of the Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance, which is promoting sustainability of CHW programs and careers through policy change and workforce development.

CHW Common Indicators Project: CHW Council Members

Valerie McAllister currently serves as the Clinical Community Linkage Coordinator/Community Health Specialist with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). In this role, she leads state efforts to establish strategies, policies, and practices to support the Community Health Worker Workforce for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s DP1815 and DP1817 collaborative agreement with VDH, Ms. McAllister assisted in the development of the first CHW accreditation program in Virginia.

Prior to joining VDH’s Chronic Disease Unit, Valerie worked in the Office of Health Equity as the CLASS Specialist, responsible for ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate services for residents of Virginia

Mariela Ardemagni-Tollin is a Community Health Worker at Hennepin Healthcare Systems, in Minneapolis. Mariela has more than 32 years of human relations skills and almost 17 years of experience in the ambulatory setting, working at one of Hennepin Healthcare neighborhood clinics, first as a Patient Services Coordinator and later as a Community Health Worker. Mariela also worked as a Community Health Worker Supervisor for 2 years. She completed the Community Health Worker Certificate program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College in 2011.

Danielle Metz was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she graduated from Walter L. Choen High School as an honor roll student. After raising two children and her grandchild, she decided to continue her studies at the Southern University of New Orleans, where she studies Addictive Behaviors. Danielle joined Tulane’s Formerly Incarcerated Transition Clinic as a manager in 2017. Danielle is an advocate for criminal justice reform and health issues as it relates to formerly incarcerated people. Danielle is dedicated to giving a voice to those on the inside who are rarely heard, and most times forgotten. Danielle is the CEO of her organization Pep Rallies to Professionals. Her mission in society is to make sure that her community has an adequate amount of health care provided for everyone.

Celeste Sanchez Lloyd has been involved in and dedicated to community work for more than 15 years. She attributes her professional growth to her commitment and to surrounding herself with organizations that employ a positive culture and precisely defined goals in the advancement of vulnerable families and communities. As Program Manager of Strong Beginnings-Healthy Start, Celeste supports the elimination of disparities amongst prenatal African American and Latina mothers and their families. Her effort is to provide strong support surrounding racial equity in breaking systemic infrastructures. She is a current W.K. Kellogg Leadership Fellow and serves as a Board Member of Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance and Latina Network of West Michigan.

Role of Popular Education in the CI Project 

The philosophy and methodology underlying the work of the CI Project is popular education.  Also referred to as “people’s education,” popular education creates settings in which people most affected by inequities can share what they know, learn from others in their community, and use their knowledge to create a more just and equitable society.  Popular education and the CHW model grew out of many of the same historical roots and share key principles, such as the ideas that people most affected by inequity are the experts about their own lives, and that experiential knowledge is just as important as academic knowledge. The principles of popular education become embodied in methods including dinámicas (social learning games); a variety of musical, artistic and dramatic techniques; cooperative learning activities; and shared meals.

2015 CI Summit Executive Summary 

2016 MiCHWA CI Project Report

Community Health Workers and the Power of Measurement Blog Post 

2020 Introduction to the CHW Common Indicators Project

2020 Report: CHW Common Indicators Project Virtual Summit

2020 Proposed Indicators for Priority Constructs

2020 Full List of Constructs  

An Introduction to Popular/People's Education

Common Indicators Project Racial Equity Lens

Click to View References

To learn more about the CI Project or how you can participate, please contact Noelle Wiggins, EdD, MSPH at  

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