Success with CHWs: Mental Health Services

Supervising CHWs

01_HmongCHWStudentIn Minnesota, CHWs must hold a certificate and be supervised by MDs, APRNs, dentists, certified public health nurses PHRNs or mental health professionals who are enrolled as Minnesota Health Care Program providers in order for services to be covered by Minnesota Health Care Programs.

Joan Kennerson King, APRN-BC, Senior Integration Consultant at the The National Council for Behavioral Health, suggests these strategies for onboarding and supervising CHWs:

  • Clear job descriptions
  • Clear conversations about the work environment
    • Hours
    • Responsibilities
    • Growth plan
    • No assumptions
  • Clear definitions of supervisor/supervisee relationship
  • Clear team leadership; nipping trouble in the bud through open conversation
  • Shadowing, modeling, creating a learning space
  • Strength-based performance evaluations conducted regularly, not just once a year
  • Raise diversity issues, and learn from them

You can hear King explain these concepts in the video of her Success with CHWs presentation from Dec. 4, 2014.

More resources

Additional tips for supervising CHWs can be found in “Supervision of Community Health Workers” (PDF), by Lauren Crigler, Jessica Gergen, and Henry Perry.

For guidance on building a CHW program including how to recruit, orient and supervise CHWs, see “How to Build a CHW Program” (PDF).

Sinai Urban Health Institute offers best practices for implementing a CHW program in “Best Practice Guidelines for Implementing and Evaluating Community Health Worker Programs in Health Care Settings” (PDF).

Find support with your colleagues

Join the CHW Supervisors Roundtable, a free forum created by the Minnesota CHW Alliance, for CHW supervisors to grow in their roles, share successes and challenges and support effective CHW programs.

For more information visit the Minnesota CHW Alliance website.