New York State Health Foundation

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The Do Canto Group

  • Project Title: Advancing the Creation of a Statewide Community Health Worker Association
  • Priority Area: Special Projects Fund
  • Grant Amount: $6,500
  • Date Awarded: July 11, 2016
  • Region: Statewide
  • Region: Outside New York State
  • Website:
  • Grant Status: Complete


Community health workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who also function as trusted members of the community in which they serve, and will often have an in-depth understanding of the needs of the community that goes beyond the traditional health system. Despite their importance and benefits to the health delivery system, steady sources of financing for CHWs are often lacking. To date, NYSHealth has contributed to advancing the integration of CHWs into New York State’s health delivery system. In 2014, NYSHealth and the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York co-hosted a meeting that identified necessary tasks for successfully advancing the CHW workforce across the State. Without a statewide association looking after the interests of CHWs, however, these tasks still remain unaddressed. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded a grant to the Do Canto Group to help identify a pathway to creating a statewide CHW association.

Under this grant, the Do Canto Group helped design, plan for, facilitate, and document four statewide meetings with CHWs, community health advocates, and other stakeholders. Specifically, the Do Canto Group examined current models for statewide CHW associations and what governing structure such an association should have; how a statewide CHW association will be financed; and what role it will play (e.g., offer credentialing, determine training standards, advocate for financing, inform wage negotiations). The Do Canto Group produced meeting summaries and a blueprint outlining the structure, financing, and role of a statewide CHW association. Matching funds were contributed by the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and the John R. Oishei Foundation.