Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management

Project Title

Advancing and Sustaining the Community Health Worker Field in New York State

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management

Date Awarded

September 17, 2009







Diabetes has become a growing health crises in New York State. Numerous studies have shown that Community Health Workers (CHWs) can help patients improve their health outcomes and reduce the use of resource-intensive health services.

Despite the evidence supporting CHWs and the large number of trained CHWs in New York State (an estimated 11,000), the State’s CHW workforce previously had lacked a standard scope of practice and sustainable funding streams. In January 2010, NYHealth awarded a grant to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health (Mailman School) to develop recommendations on standards, certification, and financing for CHWs in New York State. The project was conducted through a partnership between the Mailman School and the Community Health Worker Network of NYC.

Despite this evidence and an estimated 11,000 CHWs in the State, the CHW workforce in New York does not yet have a standard reimbursable scope of practice that encompasses the varied, critical work performed by these workers. The lack of a sustainable funding stream leads to an inefficient use of resources and instability in the CHW field.

In response, NYHealth investigated in a statewide CHW initiative in partnership with CHWs statewide, the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, the CHW Network of NYC, and other stakeholders. The objectives of the initiative were to:

  • Establish a New York standard set of core competencies and scope of practice for CHWs;
  • Implement a statewide training and certification process for CHWs; and
  • Identify and secure stable financing streams and reimbursement mechanisms for CHWs.