School of Medicine

Center for Healthcare Value and Equity

Contact Us

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Ashley Wennerstrom, PhD, MPH
Director, Louisiana Community Health Worker Institute

Phone: (504) 568-5723


Chris Adkins, MSW
Associate Director, Louisiana Community Health Worker Institute





Center for Healthcare
Value and Equity

Clinical Sciences Research Building
533 Bolivar Street, 5th Floor
New Orleans, LA 70112

Louisiana Community Health Worker Institute


The Louisiana Community Health Worker (CHW) Institute was established in 2010 to support CHW workforce development. Our team provides training for CHWs and CHW supervisors, with content based on nationally-recognized core competencies established by the Community Health Worker Core Consensus (C3) Project. We also offer technical assistance on CHW program development, financing, and evaluation to state health agencies, community-based organizations, health systems, and social service organizations in Louisiana.

In partnership with the Louisiana Community Health Outreach Network we co-lead the Louisiana CHW Workforce Coalition, which recently produced policy recommendations based on a statewide study of CHWs and their employers

Our team has worked in collaboration with CHWs on a wide variety of research and programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Current research includes the Community Health Worker MCO Population Health Strategy (CHaMPS) Evaluation, focused on providing insight into how state Medicaid managed care contracts may influence the roles of CHWs employed by managed care organizations. We have also participated in founding two CHW professional associations, including the National Association of Community Health Workers.

Please contact us today to learn more about options for technical assistance, the La. CHW Workforce Coalition, CHW training and our ongoing webinar series. Click here for quick info about CHWs and answers to frequently asked questions.    

CHW Pogram Fall Photo copy

Pascaline Ezouah (l), Meredith Sugarman, Catherine Haywood, and Ashley Wennerstrom (r) at a Louisiana Community Health Worker Workforce Development Study Committee Meeting, November 2019.


What is a Community Health Worker?

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of and/or have an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables CHWs to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. - American Public Health Association


CHWs improve health outcomes and health care quality, reduce health disparities, expand access to care, advocate for individuals and communities for better health, and promote health equity.

Our Work


  1. Sugarman M, Ezouah, P, Wennerstrom A. The Louisiana Community Health Worker Workforce Study Committee Report. 2020. Available at https:chwwd.aspx
  2. Barbero C, Jayapaul-Philip B, Fulmer K, Moeti R, Shantharma S, Gilchrist S, Bhuiya A, Rush C, Mason T, Sugarman M, Wennerstrom A. CDC Community health worker statewide certification technical assistance report.  2018.  Available at:

Book chapters:

  1. Wennerstrom A, Haywood C, McTighe L.  “You have to build a relationship”: Reflections on a career of elevating the role of outreach in communities of color.  Chapter in Promoting the health of the community:  Community health workers describing their roles, competencies and practice.  Eds. St. John J, Mayfield-Johnson S, Hernandez W.  Springer. 2021.  
  2. Wilkinson GW., Wennerstrom A,  Cottoms N, Sutkowi K, Rush CH. Uniting the workforce: building capacity for a national association of community health workers.  Chapter in Promoting the health of the community:  Community health workers describing their roles, competencies and practice.  Eds. St. John J, Mayfield-Johnson S, Hernandez W.  Springer. 2021

Peer-reviewed publications:

  1. Wennerstrom A, Sugarman M, Rush C, Barbero C, Jayapaul-Philip B, Fulmer EB, Shantharam S, Moeti R, Mason T. "Nothing About Us Without Us": Insights from State-level Efforts to Implement Community Health Worker Certification. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2021;32(2):892-909. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2021.0070. PMID: 34120983.
  2. Barbero, C, Mason, T, Rush, C, Sugarman, M, Bhuiya, AR, Fulmer, EB, Feldstein, J, Cottoms, N, & Wennerstrom, A. (2021). Processes for Implementing Community Health Worker Workforce Development Initiatives. Frontiers in Public Health9.
  3. Smith DO, Wennerstrom A. To strengthen the public health response to COVID-19, we need community health workers.  Health Affairs Blog. May 6, 2020.
  4. Haywood C, Feist D, Sugarman M, Ezouah P, Wennerstrom A.  Community health worker leadership in Louisiana, during and after Hurricane Katrina.  American Journal of Public Health. 2020;110(10), 1498-1499
  5. Mayfield Johnson S, Smith DO, Crosby S, Haywood CG, Castillo J, Bryant-Williams D, Jay K, Seguinot M, Smith T, Moore N, Wennerstrom A.  Insights on COVID-19 from community health worker state leaders.   Journal of Ambulatory Care Management.  2020;43(4), 268-277. 
  6. Sugarman, M., Ezouah, P., Haywood, C., & Wennerstrom, A. (2020). Promoting Community Health Worker Leadership in Policy Development: Results from a Louisiana Workforce Study. Journal of Community Health, 1-11.
  7. Matos S, Wilkinson G, Hernandez-Gordon W, Wennerstrom A.  The National Association of Community Health Workers disputes findings of Covert et al. American Journal of Public Health.  2019; 109(10): e1. 
  8. Spock N, Wennerstrom A. “Nothing about us without us:” Lessons from supporting community health workers in Hawai'i Nei and beyond.  Hawai'i Journal of Public Health and Medicine.  2019;78(6 Suppl 1):  33-36.
  9. Wennerstrom A, Pollock M, Silver J, Gustat J.  Training community residents to address social determinants of health in under resourced communities.  Health Promotion Practice.  Published online January 7, 2019.  DOI: 
  10. Wennerstrom A, Haywood C, Wallace M, Sugarman M, Walker A, Bonner T, Sutton Y, Lacen Keller B, Lewis M, Springgate B, Theall K.  Creating Safe Spaces: A community health worker- academic partnered approach to addressing intimate partner violence.  Ethnicity & Disease. 2018;28(2): 317-324.
  11. Sabo S, Allen C, Sutkowi K, Wennerstrom A.   Community health workers in the United States:  Challenges in identifying, surveying, and supporting the workforce.  Am J Public Health. 2017 Dec;107(12):1964-1969. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.304096. PubMed PMID: 29048953
  12. Sabo S, Bell M, Wennerstrom A, Flores M, Verdugo L, Ingram M, Carvajal S. Community health workers promote civic engagement and organizational capacity to impact policy. J Community Health. 2017 Dec;42(6):1197-1203. doi: 10.1007/s10900-017-0370-3. PubMed PMID: 28589270. 
  13. Wennerstrom A, Rush C.  The terminology of community health workers:  What's in a name?  Am J Public Health. 2016 Aug;106(8):e10. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303248. PubMed PMID: 27400359.
  14. Allen CA, Sugarman M, Wennerstrom A.  Community health workers: A resource to support antipsychotic medication adherence.  Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research.  17 May 2016.  DOI:  10.1007/s11414-016-9515-x. 
  15. Barbero C, Gilchrist S, Chiriqui, J, Martin M, Wennerstrom A, VanderVeur J, Prewitt K, Brownstein N.  Do state community health worker laws include provisions aligned with best available evidence?  Journal of Community Health. 2016; 41(2):315-25. DOI: 10.1007/s10900-015-0098-x.  PMID:26455578
  16. Wennerstrom A, Hargrove L, Minor S, Kirkland A, Shelton S.   Enhancing care delivery through integration of behavioral health-focused community health workers into primary care.  Journal of Ambulatory Care Management.  2015;38(3):263-272.  DOI:10.1097/JAC.0000000000000087.  PMID:  26049656
  17. Sabo S, Wennerstrom A, Phillips D, Haywood C, Redondo F, Bell, ML, Ingram, M.  Community health worker professional Advocacy: Voices of action from the 2014 National Community Health Worker Advocacy Survey.  Journal of Ambulatory Care Management.  2015;38(3):225-235.   doi: 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000089.  PMID:  26049652.
  18. Wennerstrom A, Bui T, Harden-Barrios J, Price-Haywood E.  Integrating community health workers into a patient centered medical home to support disease self-management among Vietnamese Americans: Lessons learned.  Health Promotion Practice.  2015;16(1):72-83.  DOI: 10.1177/1524839914547760.  PMID:  25139872.
  19. Wennerstrom A, Johnson L, Gibson K, Batta SE, Springgate BF.  Community health workers leading the charge on workforce development: Lessons from New Orleans.  Journal of Community Health.  2014; 39(6), 1140-1149.  PMID:  24705703.
  20. Wennerstrom A, Vannoy S, Allen C, Meyers D, O'Toole E, Wells K, Springgate B.  Community-based participatory development of community health worker mental health outreach role to extend collaborative care in post-Katrina New Orleans.  Ethnicity and Disease.  2011;21(3, Suppl 1), 45-51.  PMID:  22352080.
  21. Springgate B, Wennerstrom A, Carriere C. Capacity building for post-disaster mental health since Katrina:  The role of community health workers. Review of Black Political Economy. 2011; 38(4), 363-368
  22. Sabo S, Ingram M, Wennerstrom A.  Social justice and health in Arizona border communities: The community health worker model.  The Colonias Reader:  Economy, housing, and public health in U.S.-Mexico border colonias.  Eds:  Donelson, A., Esparza, A  University of Arizona Press.  2010. 
  23. Ingram M, Sabo S, Rothers J, Wennerstrom A, Guernsey de Zapien J.  Community health workers and community advocacy: Addressing health disparities. Journal of Community Health.  2008; 33(6), 417-424.  PMID:  18584315.