CHWs bring rich life experience to their work that cannot be taught in a classroom. Each is able to serve their community best by relating their own experience to those of their clients. In addition, CHWs gain additional knowledge and skills through a 90 hour training program through the Multnomah County Health Department Community Capacitation Center. This training program is often paid for by an organization or scholarship. Continuing education programs for CHWs are offered statewide.
CHWs are just one of many specialties within what Oregon has termed Traditional Health Workers (THWs). The state of Oregon has supported the incorporation of Traditional Health Workers within recent healthcare reform development. THWs who are certified by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are eligible to be funded by Medicaid. There is no fee to apply for certification as a CHW but there may be an additional charge for fingerprinting.
There are estimated to be several thousand CHWs in the state of Oregon. CHWs are highly versatile and work in various organizations and in a variety of roles. CHWs are valuable in both rural and metropolitan communities.