About us

Mission & Vision

The Maine Community Health Worker Initiative develops a sustainable and competent community health workforce by delivering professional development training, providing peer support opportunities, and advocating for systemic change that more fully integrates and financially supports the community health worker profession.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are universally recognized as a vital part of Maine's health care system. Key stakeholders, including Maine state government, support a statewide plan to develop and sustain the CHW workforce. There are established credentialing standards, diverse funding sources to support adequate and enduring compensation, standardized core training and continuing education, and other support infrastructure in place to strengthen the CHW role.

CHWs are recognized and valued for the professional skills, unique understanding of communities, and life experience they possess to improve health access and health outcomes. There are enough CHWs available to meet community needs. Social service agencies, community-based organizations, and health care providers effectively utilize CHWs to deliver high quality care that improves the wellbeing of all Mainers.


Bridgette Dairyko (Gemelli) - Project Coordinator

Bridgette has more than 30 years of experience working in public health, including her participation in the first CHW training offered in Maine by MCD in 2012 and the CHW Train the Trainer course in 2016. With this extensive experience, she has provided several training courses throughout the state.

Axels Samuntu - Project Coordinator

Axels has eight years of experience in public health, in the U.S., he worked as a hepatitis C and COVID-19 case investigator, as a community health outreach worker for a minority health program for the City of Portland's Department of Health and Human Services, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He worked as a physician in rural and urban areas.

CHW Advisory Committee

Self-determination is one of the core values of the CHW profession. It is essential that CHWs have a hand in shaping the future direction of their field in Maine. In 2022, The Maine CHW Initiative elected seven CHWs to serve on the network's first Advisory Committee. The CHW Advisors direct decision making, lead strategic planning, build consensus, engage stakeholders, and advocate for the profession.



  • The Maine Community Health Worker Initiative (MECHWI) began as a workforce development effort to build the Community Healthy Worker (CHW)profession in Maine.
  • The Maine CDC secured funding as part of the State Innovation Models(SIM) grant to establish the Maine CHW Initiative.

2013 - 2017

Over the next four years, the Maine CHW Initiative made significant contributions to building a foundation for the workforce. The project successfully:

  • formed a stakeholder group that supported a growing network of CHWs.
  • defined the roles and skills that would serve as the basis of professional development.
  • implemented four CHW pilot projects.
  • designed a core skills curriculum and convened the first statewide core skills training for CHWs.
  • released a report on sustainable funding models for the CHW profession.


Following the completion of the SIM grant in 2017, the Maine CHW Initiative remained active through the stakeholder group and ongoing training efforts. The Maine Mobile Health Program served as the central convener of the initiative and was able to:

  • expand the stakeholder group that was formed during the SIM Project.
  • develop a vision and mission informed by stakeholders.
  • conduct an environmental scan of the workforce.
  • commission a report on the steps for advancing CHW certification in Maine.
  • convene with CHWs to define components of a CHW certification


MCD Global Health has emerged as a strategic partner that supports the activities of the Maine CHW Initiative.

Moving forward

The Maine CHW Initiative will continue to foster collaboration among CHWs and stakeholders around the priorities of promoting CHW leadership, career pathways, sustainability, and professional identity.

The initiative will also continue to provide support, resources and education to MECHW workforce to enhance better health outcomes.