The Community Capacitation Center provides training and technical assistance for organizations that desire to establish or strengthen their community health worker programs. Our expertise includes:

  • Designing, conducting, and evaluating community health worker programs
  • Recruiting, hiring, training, and supervising CHWs
  • Formulating and advocating for policies supportive of the CHW model
  • Providing leadership in the CHW field


Our curriculum is based on findings in Chapter 3 (Roles and Competencies) of the National Community Health Advisor Study (4.94 MB)(Wiggins and Borbón, 1998). It has 3 components:

  • Skill base
  • Orientation to the health and social service system
  • Health issues

An 80-hour basic curriculum was approved for academic credit by the Oregon State Board of Education. Many additional courses are also available.

Academic Credit

Through an agreement with the Portland State University’s Early Childhood Training Center, we are able to offer academic credit (for an additional fee, paid to PSU) for participation in our courses. This means that training is portable from one employer to another, and CHWs can apply the credits they gain to obtain academic degrees.

How We Work

Community-based organizations and community health centers come to us when they are in the process of establishing a CHW program. Our staff provide technical assistance regarding:

  • Recruitment and hiring of CHWs
  • Development of CHW job descriptions
  • Support and supervision of CHWs
  • Other issues

Based on the role your organization envisions for CHWs, we work together with you to design an initial training curriculum, selecting courses from the established curriculum and creating additional courses as needed.


As brief as 18 hours or as long as 240 hours. It depends on the complexity of the work CHWs will be expected to do, availability of the CHWs for training, and the resources of the contracting organization.

We recommend that organizations provide follow-up training for CHWs for as long as they continue to act as CHWs. Most organizations contract with the CCC to provide follow-up training.

Participating Organizations 

Here are some organizations we have worked with to provide training.

  • Janus Youth Village Gardens Program
  • Lutheran Community Services Northwest
  • Parish Health Worker Program (a partnership of Providence Health and Services, El Programa Hispano, and Catholic and Episcopal parishes in the Portland area)
  • Women with Disabilities Health Equity Coalition
  • Wraparound Oregon (a program of the Multnomah Educational Services District)


Rosenthal, E.L., Wiggins, N., Ingram, M., Mayfield-Johnson, S., De Zapien, J.G. (2011). Community Health Workers Then and Now: An Overview of National Studies Aimed at Defining the Field. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 34, 247-259.

Wiggins, N. (2010). La Palabra es Salud: A Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of Popular Education vs. Traditional Education for Enhancing Health Knowledge and Skills and Increasing Empowerment Among Parish-Based Community Health Workers (CHWs). Retrieved from Dissertation and Theses. (AAT 3407867.)

Wiggins, N., Johnson, D., Avila, M., Farquhar, S.A., Michael, Y.L., Rios, T., and López, A. (2009). Using Popular Education for Community Empowerment: Perspectives of Community Health Workers in the Poder es Salud/ Power for Health Program. Critical Public Health 19, 11-22.

Farquhar, S.A., Wiggins, N., Michael, Y.L., Luhr, G., Jordan, J., and Lopez, A. (2008). “Sitting in different chairs:” Roles of the Community Health Workers in the Poder es Salud Power for Health Project. Education for Health.

More publications: Community-Based Paticipatory Research, Popular Education

Contact Us

Community Capacitation Center
503-988-3663 ext 26489