January 2020 MNCHWA Community Health Worker Spotlight: Kimberli Barker

Kimberli Barker, CHW Certificate Holder
Dakota County Public Health

What do you do as a CHW?

I work for Dakota County Public Health, supporting a variety of programs. When I’m wearing my Child & Teen Checkups (C&TC) hat, I do different kinds of outreach including C&TC introduction calls to families who are newly enrolled in Medical Assistance, Car Seat education and distribution, and other forms of Community Outreach. Community Outreach includes things like Health and/or Resource Fairs, Summer Safety Camps, and Information Tables at Food Shelves and other Community Events. Most recently we have been developing an Oral Health presentation for ECFE classes and in-home child care centers.

When I wear my Family Home Visiting (FHV) hat, I work alongside our Public Health Nurses with families of young children who need a little extra parenting support. While the nurse typically visits once or twice a month, I can visit every week. We work through a goal-setting process that allows the family to select the topics that they are interested in learning more about. Then we use a variety of curricula to determine their strengths and how they can use their own strengths and resources to address their areas of need.

What has been your favorite part of being a CHW?

I enjoy working with families and watching as they discover their strengths. I especially enjoy watching when children flourish and grow in their relationships with their parents and other care givers. I guess my “favorite” part is when a family returns weeks, months or even years later to say “thank you” and lets me know how my visits have shaped their futures.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I love learning about cultures. I believe that every person is a part of a large culture as well as sub-cultures and I like to learn about how they mesh together to create that person’s personality and life experiences. I especially love trying and experimenting with the foods that are important to people I care about.

Success Story

Several years ago I visited with an immigrant family who had two teenage children and a newborn. My visits were typically with Mom and Baby while the other children were in school. Dad was occasionally there, but he also worked varying hours. Mom felt isolated and confused about life in a new country. She shared both her struggles with her family’s discontent over her coming to the U.S. and her joy at watching her children adapt to their new life.

During our visits, she would hint at verbal and emotional abuse by her husband, the father of her children. When he was not present we were able to address the different ways that domestic violence is viewed in her home country as well as here in the U.S. At one point we visited a shelter and she considered joining a support group but didn’t follow through as she did not have a driver’s license or car at that time.

My visits ended after about 2 years and I would occasionally see her when she came into the office for her WIC benefits. Fast forward six years … this past summer, I was called to the lobby, only to find this mom asking for me. Her older children are now out of the home and thriving on their own. Her youngest is doing well in school but is concerned about his mother’s safety. Dad has become more and more vocal and has begun to threaten her with physical violence so Mom is asking me about the shelter that we visited years ago.

I was able to help her call them and set up an appointment. Because she now drives her own car, I was able to meet her at the appointment and get her set up with the ongoing supports she will be receiving from them. As we parted from that appointment she said: “I didn’t even know if you still worked in Public Health, but I knew that if you did, you would be able to help me find the help I need now.”

December 2019 MNCHWA Community Health Worker Spotlight: Hilda Sanchez-Herrera

Hilda Sanchez-Herrera
Minnesota Community Health Worker Certificate Holder
Sanford Health

What do you do as a CHW?

I help patients navigate the health system, fill out insurance forms, interpret and translate as needed. Network with other CHWs.

What has been your favorite part of being a CHW?

Promoting the CHW Profession. Sharing my passion for helping people in the public sector. Working with and learning from my classmates at various events.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I participated in two marathons in 2017 and my goal is to do another one. I also completed the 2019 CHW Leadership Cohort and joined the National Association of CHWs earlier this year.

Success Story

A mother with a special needs child needed help understanding some of her child’s needs. After a few minutes of conversation, we were able to get her the right resources for both mom and child before they left the facility. Mom was grateful for the information and the providers were thankful for the intervention.

October 2019 MNCHWA Community Health Worker Spotlight: Joy Rivera

Joy Rivera, Cancer Training

What do you do as a CHW?

My CHW experience has been in both promoting and organizing cancer training in my Indigenous community both locally and nationally. I presently volunteer at health fairs and vendor for the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance and speak on panels. 

What has been your favorite part of being a CHW?

I love being in the community interacting with people. When I’m in the community it is always a two-way conversation for me: the community speaks and I learn from them, and they in return learn from the preventive information I provide them as a professional informed CHW. 

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I used to be a mathematics teacher and I taught grades 7-12 for 20 years. It’s funny, I was never smart in math and self-taught myself using the math books from back in the day that had the answers in the very back, but I never cheated! Instead, I challenged myself and found I really enjoyed teaching math. I also taught math in the prison system.

Impactful CHW Story

One success story that happened to me this past year was when I had an information table in the tribal clinic up north and I was doing colon cancer mock stool tests. When the clinic day was over the Clinic Director commented to me that she had never seen so many patients stay to listen to what I had to offer. She said the patients usually don’t stay.

Contact Joy

Joy Rivera

Nasra Budul headshot

September 2019 MNCHWA Community Health Worker Spotlight: Nasra Budul

Nasra Budul, Community Health Worker, Ready Set Smile

What do you do as a CHW?

As a CHW I work with children without access to dental health care receive preventive dental exams and oral health education to build healthy habits ie. brushing, eating less sugary foods/drink with respect to their overall health.

What is your favorite part about becoming a CHW?

One thing I loved about becoming a CHW is definitely serving a community in which I can relate and am apart of as a Somali CHW. I work with Somali families to break down the barriers surrounding health in general. Often times our community is skeptical of Doctors/Dentists and it has been rewarding to be able to be someone they can build trust with in order to receive the services they need to improve their overall health and well-being.

What is most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that as a teenager I was apart of the very first project the Minnesota Historical Society did about the immigration of Somali Families to Minnesota. The project was also about the Somali culture as well. We eventually produced and starred in two documentaries and held a premiere at the Historical Society. It truly was a great experience!

Impactful CHW Story

As I continue to grow in my career as a CHW I can think back on many rewarding moments with the population of students we serve. Often times the children we see at the school dental clinics have urgent dental needs. We contact their parents to help them connect with dental clinics that are able to see the child in the community. It has also been amazing to work with the Somali community to help them understand oral health is important and to provide education on building healthy eating habits as well.

Contact Nasra

Nasra Budul
612-731-6118 Office
651-434-5553 Cell
Maile-Vang Image

AUGUST 2019 MNCHWA Community Health Worker Spotlight

Maile (My-Lee) Vang

Community Health Worker-Program Assistant, Minnesota Community Care

What do you do as a CHW?

What I do as a community health worker is a work to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the people I serve in the community. Most notably, I focus on outreach, education, counseling, and social support to help out the community, and by boosting the communication between the health care facilities in the area identifying the different health-related issues that exist.

I get to assist in developing tools, strategies, and resources that can help with those problems. Therefore, I coordinate and partner with community agencies and health experts in the area to improve the health and well-being of a community. Helping families understand and improve their access to insurance, food, health care, and even housing stability.

What has been your favorite part of being a CHW?

My favorite part of being a community health worker has got to conducting health and social services outreach. I like to meet new people in community and community agencies. I love to strike up a conversation to learn about how much the people in the community get involved and currently hear what other agencies are doing to bring a positive impact. To me, that’s the beginning of a great day already because at the end of the day. I get to take back smiles, laughter, information, resources, and friendship.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I love watching horror movies! Yes, I get scared too, and sometimes I tend to overdo it, but for some reason, I like a good scare. Whether its broad daylight or taking a lunch break, you might catch me watching a scary movie.  


I have had the honor to work and volunteer with the Hmong Health Care Professional Coalition (HHCPC) during the past year to talk about Influenza immunization. One of the most concerns with families is getting their children flu shots for the cold season. I encounter a Karen family trying to get flu shots, but they have many doubts about it because a family relative has passed away from it. I was prepared for situations like this to happen, so I had to sit the family down and speak to them about things that can be helpful if the family was vaccinated.

I provided visuals of families getting vaccinated and before/after to see how they look and feel. I showed the family myself getting a flu shot from the nurses because they take excellent care of patients. I explained that influenza could be prevented by washing hands when coughing or sneezing. Towards not to share too many things when someone else is sick or not feeling well. I gave the family apowerpoint translated into Karen along with brochures and visuals of how the parents can teach the children how to prevent influenza.

The family even saw other families coming in and out getting the flu shot. Sadly, I wasn’t able to win the family over. The family couldn’t make a decision and left with the information about a week later, I had another flu vaccination event I attended. I was helping families fill out paperwork and educating on what the vaccine does. I turned around and saw the Karen family sitting at the tables and filling out the forms. I walked up to them just talking, letting them know how glad I am to see them. I was also happy that they understand how important it is to get the flu vaccination. I went over to see the information with them again and sat there to make them feel comfortable knowing that this is a welcoming environment. In the end, the family received their flu shot, and I continued assisting families in getting their flu shots.

Contact Maile