The New Hampshire Community Health Worker (CHW) Summit took place on Tuesday, April 30th, bringing together 140 attendees including CHWs and allies from across the Granite State. This year’s theme was Lighting the Future, reflecting the remarkable growth and bright outlook for the CHW workforce in New Hampshire.

Over the past year, the CHW profession has continued to gain momentum and recognition for the vital role these trusted frontline public health workers play in connecting communities to healthcare resources and supporting underserved populations. The future looks brilliant as more organizations embrace the CHW model to improve health equity and outcomes. New Futures, along with the New Hampshire Healthcare Workforce Coalition, have been working to address the state’s health care workforce crisis that impacts access to quality and timely health care for Granite Staters. Senate Bill 403 proposes to create voluntary certification for CHWs, which provides a clear career path and greater financial stability for these frontline health workers.

The day-long event featured 21 vendor tables from partners like Southern NH Area Health Education Center, Granite United Way, NH Division of Health and Human Services, UNH Institute on Disability and Health Program and many others. Attendees had the opportunity to network and learn about career development resources during the Vendor BINGO activity.

Engaging breakout sessions covered topics like stigma and bias, the State Health Improvement Plan, Insurance resources, mobile integrated healthcare, and more. A diverse range of speakers shared their expertise across the various session tracks.

A highlight was recognizing Isaac Rugali, a CHW from Manchester Health Department, as the CHW of the Year and Kristine Stoddard, Senior Director of NH Public Policy at Bi-State Primary Care Association, as the Ally of the year. Congratulations to both!

Patricia Tilley, Associate Commissioner at NH DHHS, kicked off the event by highlighting the state’s efforts to professionalize and expand the CHW workforce through initiatives like training programs and Medicaid reimbursement for CHW services.

New this year, the CHW Summit incorporated raffle prizes to add some extra excitement. A BIG thank you to the following businesses for their generous contributions: Funspot, the Common Man, BarkBox, and the Omni Mount Washington Resort.

The 2024 NH CHW Summit was a testament to the growing CHW movement in New Hampshire. The future is very bright for this critical workforce. New Hampshire’s CHWs are lighting the way to healthier communities!