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January 9, 2024

New Funding Enables the Community Health Worker Institute at Montefiore to Optimize the Skillsets of CHWs & Create Clearer Career Pathways for Local Experts 

BRONX, N.Y. January 9, 2024. There is growing recognition that community health workers (CHWs), local experts who fill gaps between medical care and social services, represent an enormous opportunity to address challenges in healthcare access and improve overall health outcomes. Despite their importance, inconsistencies in education and training prevent CHWs from reaching their full potential. The Community Health Worker Institute (CHWI) at Montefiore has received a $2 million grant from the New York State Department of Health to create a robust program that can serve as a new model for prospective and current CHW instruction and support.

The CHWI at Montefiore launched in 2021, and to date, CHWs completed certificate training through Hostos Community College. As CHWs were deployed throughout Montefiore’s primary care, OBGYN and specialty locations, the leaders of the Institute saw an opportunity for enhanced education and training standards that would open pathways for CHW’s upward career mobility and improve their consistency and effectiveness. 

Enabling CHWs to Grow and Prosper

Nationwide, CHWs have various job descriptions and training across healthcare settings. Most basic CHW training programs include approximately 81 hours of educational activities and 80 hours of on-the-job training. Courtesy of this new grant, Montefiore’s bolstered CHW program will include 160 hours of education and approximately 2,000 hours of supervised engagement with patients. An additional 16 CHWs will also be trained from this funding.

“Our CHWs are remarkable, and we owe it to them to have more standardized education and training that will not only add value to how we deliver healthcare but also ensure CHWs have the tools to be successful, feel pride in their work and to advance in their careers,” said Kevin Fiori, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., director of CHWI and Social Determinants of Health, as well as associate professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Family & Social Medicine at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “We are grateful for this new funding which will help ensure we are enhancing experiences for our CHWs, but also will provide a roadmap for how to share and replicate CHW best practices elsewhere.”

Through the new funding, CHWs will be compensated as they participate in an enhanced intensive four-week training spanning data management to social service workshops that lay the foundation for how to navigate systems and help families with their most pressing needs like housing security and quality, food security, transportation, access to healthcare, child/adult care and legal services. They will also have a full year of supervised practice experience. Once enough job hours are completed and coursework is passed, trainees will have the opportunity to earn full NYS Department of Labor recognized apprenticeship certification.

The newly robust training, which will also be available for current Montefiore CHWs, gives a leg up for those looking to pursue future health careers, such as certified nurse assistants.

The Value of an Academic Medical Center

The CHWI at Montefiore is informed by the health system’s screening of social determinants of health (SDOH)—conditions that people are born into, work and live in that impact health outcomes (e.g. housing, transportation, education). To date, more than 215,000 patients have been screened for SDOH and 15-20% were identified as having at least one social need.

By having an academic medical center, which combines education, research and clinical care in the Bronx, one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse counties, Montefiore is uniquely positioned to create a training program that can serve as a model for how to educate and train this new workforce, particularly in vulnerable communities.

“Our CHWs are the Bronx,” said Scott Wetzler, PhD, vice president, Behavioral Health Management, Montefiore, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “They are creative and hardworking, and some have also had to overcome challenges like inadequate housing and food insecurity. Having that firsthand experience on the frontlines, backed by this new education and training program, brings an amazing opportunity for us to learn from the experiences of our colleagues. In turn, we’re proud to offer a more extensive educational experience that allows this emerging workforce to prosper.” 


About Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems. It is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley. It comprises ten hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore,  Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, and over two hundred outpatient ambulatory care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation, to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information, please visit Follow us onTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or view us onFacebook and YouTube.