Community Health Workers in the TCN

Each TCN Program is staffed by a CHW with lived experience of incarceration. They are vital members of the healthcare team, connecting patients with health and social services through outreach, educational, and advocacy efforts. CHWs act as cultural liaisons to ensure the provision of culturally relevant health services. They work both in the community and clinical setting, bridging the healthcare gap for the sickest and most vulnerable patients.


Why employ CHWs with a history of incarceration?

Mass incarceration has impacted communities' ability to heal themselves by creating barriers to employment in health care for people with a felony conviction. TCN seeks to break this cycle by providing meaningful healthcare careers to CHWs with a history of incarceration. TCN CHWs leverage the singular knowledge of an individual who has successfully reentered. Through their shared history, CHWs build a unique trust with their clients resulting in enhanced primary care engagement and reduced Emergency Department utilization. TCN trains CHWs with histories of incarceration in how to leverage their own experiences in the criminal legal system to empower patients to navigate health and social services upon return.


TCN offers multiple CHW training programs.

  • CHW Kick-Off Events: These two-day trainings cover the fundamentals of the TCN model and CHW roles in TCN programs. Participants also hear from seasoned CHWs and from TCN patients. They also have opportunities to practice telling their personal stories and examine their beliefs around incarceration and the health system.
  • Fireside Chats: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many CHWs are now working from home or in need of additional support. During this time, our Lead CHW is hosting biweekly discussions, which are often co-facilitated by CHWs in our national network. Topics vary, and have included working with patients who are living with HIV, using motivational interviewing, and goal-setting.
  • CHW Online Training Course: This specialized 12-week online training is a more in-depth exploration of the phenomenon of mass incarceration, the impacts of incarceration on the social needs and health of returning community members, the roles of the CHWs in providing patient-centered care to these individuals. In this course, CHWs reviewing online materials independent and participate in biweekly group discussions about applying key concepts to their work.

If you are a community health worker or CHW student interested in participating in a future training, please contact us.


CHW Online Training Modules
Module 1: Incarceration in the United States
Module 2: Social Determinants & Collateral Consequences
Module 3: Incarceration's Impact on Physical Health
Module 4: Incarceration's Impact on Behavioral Health
Module 5: Cultural Humility and Marginalized Populations
Module 6: Role of Community Health Workers in Team-Based Care
Module 7: Overcoming Institutionalization
Module 8: Outreach, Intake, Follow-Up and Graduation
Module 9: Service Coordination & Navigation
Module 10: Advocacy in the Clinic and in the Community
Module 11: Mentorship, Professionalism, & Ethics
Module 12: Stress & Burnout