PIH-US Year In Review

This year, we've strengthened public health infrastructure, empowered a more adaptable community health workforce, and moved us closer to community health systems that embrace equity for all.

Posted on Dec 13, 2023

2023 Photo Collage

This year, PIH-US supported community and public health partners with strategic planning, training and mentorship, moved millions in funding to community-led initiatives, and advocated for policies that lead to stronger, more just and responsive community health systems. Our collective efforts have strengthened public health infrastructure, empowered a more adaptable community health workforce, and moved us closer to community health systems that embrace equity for all.

Below, we recap some of PIH-US' accomplishments from 2023.


Supported public sector partners to engage community health workers.

PIH-US trained community health workers in Montgomery, Alabama as they canvassed neighborhoods and health events to conduct a community health needs assessment of approximately 1,000 community members. Responses to the survey, which was developed and analyzed by PIH-US, will give city officials a deeper understanding of community concerns and ensure future public health planning and strategies are designed to meet local needs.

PIH-US has joined forces with a regional health system to train and deploy community health workers throughout New Jersey.  The first two community health workers hired in Essex County through the launch of the project were placed at Newark’s Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Center, a federally qualified health center. Upon employment, these community health workers were enrolled into the state certification process and will serve as instrumental connectors in outreach and health education for patients of the clinic.

PIH-US staff, Beatrice Simpkins, Director, Newark (left) and Ethan Penha, Associate, Health Sector Strategy (right)  join partners at the opening of Newark's Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Center.


Provided the community-based workforce with on-going educational, mentorship, and professional development opportunities 

Over the past year, PIH-US has supported community health organizers in Chicago, Illinois to raise community awareness of critical services by facilitating connections and providing hands-on mentorship and training in advocacy, organizing, public health skill-building, and resource navigation. When GAP Community Center, a community-based partner, struggled to identify legal and social services for the influx of migrants arriving in Chicago, PIH-US helped organize “Know Your Rights" informational sessions and facilitated connections to immigration lawyers. By connecting the Alliance of the Southeast, a coalition supporting neighborhoods in Southeast Chicago, to the Respiratory Health Association, PIH-US bolstered the Alliance’s efforts to hold a neglectful apartment management company accountable. Since January 2023, PIH-US has hosted 11 learning sessions attended by organizations across communities and sectors, creating new networks of public health partners to meet the needs of Chicagoans.

PIH-US has been working alongside partners in Massachusetts to expand community-based mental health care through Problem Management Plus, or PM+, a psychological support intervention developed by the World Health Organization and adapted in different countries and contexts across Partners In Health’s sites. In September, PIH-US hosted a multi-day intensive training to equip staff members at five community-based organizations to identify, respond, and deliver PM+ to individuals facing mild to moderate mental distress and daily life challenges. The training prepared non-clinical staff to apply the PM+ intervention by immersing participants in hands-on learning through role play and dialogue. Since the training, participants have identified and enrolled new clients in PM+, providing on-going assistance to address their needs including stress management, behavior change, and social support services. PIH-US drew on lessons from our global teams’ work implementing such models in Malawi, Mexico, Peru, and Rwanda.

PIH-US Project Lead Marlene Cerritos-Rivas (right) facilitates a role playing exercise during a PM+ intensive training in Massachusetts.

Helped partners to identify and pursue new sources of funding 

In Arizona, PIH-US partnered with the Tucson Indian Center to apply for and secure over $1.5 million in funding to enhance employment opportunities and career advancement for Pima County’s urban American Indian/Alaska Native community, an initiative that aims to disrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty and improve health and overall well-being. With this investment, the Tucson Indian Center will partner with PIH-US, the Pima County Health Department, and Pima County Community & Workforce Development to co-develop the community’s first-ever Native-led database to accurately capture the assets and needs of the urban Indigenous population. Over the next three years this partnership will shift narratives, shape policy, and increase public funding allocations aligned with community priorities by building on traditional knowledge systems and transferring power and decision-making about data systems back to the urban Indigenous community.

The Tucson Indian Center offices in Arizona.

Built awareness and support for the community health workforce 

In August, North Carolina became the first state to launch advanced levels of certification for community health workers. For nearly two years, the North Carolina Community Health Worker Association (NCCHWA) has worked to establish standardized core competencies and advanced training for community health workers, including specialized qualifications and a legacy track acknowledging the varied skills and lived experiences of seasoned community health workers. Along with partners in the state’s Community Health Worker Initiative, PIH-US provided technical assistance and support for developing a credentialing council, application processes, and requirements for the advanced and legacy tracks. Since the launch of the core competency training, over 950 community health workers have been certified and 11 have received advanced certifications to support career progression.

To prepare the Florida Community Health Worker Coalition for their first-ever Community Health Worker Advocacy Day, PIH-US hosted a series of trainings on legislative advocacy to ensure that attendees felt comfortable and confident sharing their stories and advocating for their communities to policymakers. In December, 15 community health workers and allies met with over 25 elected officials in Tallahassee to elevate the impact of this workforce on communities across the state.

From left to right: Jaquesha Jefferson, Erik Rawls, Taylor Humphries, Tonya Bell, and Lisa Schueler Hamilton of the Florida Health Worker Coalition attend the December Hill Day in Tallahassee.
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