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Training, Community Education, and Technical Assistance

We train frontline workers (i.e. community health workers, housing organizers, parent facilitators, patient advocates, street outreach workers, peer counselors, etc.) and a wide array of professionals (physicians, teachers, social workers, etc.) in CORE COMPETENCIES.  Core competencies provide meaningful knowledge, skills, and practices that can be utilized to empower individuals, families and communities.

We also provide technical assistance and capacity building around project design and quality improvement to help organizations and institutions develop community-based engagement strategies that promote positive outcomes in the hardest to reach and most at-risk populations.


Meet Our Training Team

We offer a 4 day/28 hour course that covers all of the below areas.  Trainings and workshops can also be tailored around the following topical areas to meet the needs of your organization or initiative. We will work with your organization to integrate core competencies to make individual workers and professionals more impactful, organizational teams more cohesive and person-centered, and supervisors more able to empower their staff and those they serve towards better outcomes.


  • Communication and Listening

  • Social Determinants of Health, Education and Well-Being

  • History and Role of Community Workers

  • Privilege and Power (Cultural Competency) 

  • Strength-Based Approach to Care (including Trauma-Informed Care)

  • Ethics of Care

  • Supporting Positive Behavior Change (including Restorative Practices)

  • Empowerment Education

  • Safety and Self-Care (including Mindfulness)

  • Community History

  • Asset-Based Community Development

  • Research, Policy and Advocacy

  • Cultivating Connection, Networking, and Teambuilding

Please contact Jessica Bauer Walker, lead trainer, at for more information, or to request a fee schedule or quote related to training and technical assistance.

These individuals often no longer serve as trainers for our team, but we acknowledge their contributions to the development of our curriculum and training approach
  • Kathleen Grimm, MD, Erie County Medical Center

  • Rahwa Ghirmatizion, CHW, Executive Director, Ujima Theatre Company and Deputy Director, PUSH Buffalo and CHW

  • Samuel Radford III, CHW, President, District Parent Coordinating Council

  • Deborah Puntenney, PhD, Associate Director, Asset Based Community Development Institute

Jessica Bauer Walker, B.A., CHW

Jessica Bauer Walker is the Executive Director of the Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo, where she works as a Community Health Worker, trainer, and facilitator of collaborative projects. Jessica has worked in community-building and civic engagement in local, national, and international contexts. She has served in AmeriCorps and the U.S. Peace Corps, as an organizer in two Presidential campaigns and director of operations for Rock the Vote, and as a project manager for several community-based organizations and initiatives targeting issues such as youth development, environmental health, and HIV/AIDS. Jessica is involved in many health and education initiatives in Buffalo, and has volunteered her time with numerous organizations, including as a Vice President of the Buffalo Public Schools District Parent Coordinating Council and a coach for Westside International Soccer.  She has been recognized with various awards such as Parent of the Year by Buffalo Public Schools Health Related Services Department, Women in Leadership award from the National Organization of Women Business Owners, and a Community Service/Volunteerism recognition from the National Organization of Just Communities; and has been a John R. Oishei Foundation "Oishei Leader" and Health Foundation for Western and Central New York "Health Leadership Fellow".  Jessica works in her many roles to foster a more just, healthy, and sustainable world.

Areas of Expertise: Public health, education and schools, maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, community building/asset-based community development, grant-writing

Renee Cadzow, Ph.D.

Renee holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and is an Assistant Professor of Health Services Administration. She is the Co-Director of the Center for Research on Physical Activity, Sport, and Health at D’Youville College. Her research and evaluation efforts focus on maternal and child health and include both health care practice-based research as well as community based participatory research. Renee is active in public health advocacy and is also a board member of the Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network (BPPN) and the Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC), serves on two area school district wellness committees including the Buffalo Public School Wellness Advisory Team (SWAT) and Health Council, and is an active member of the Healthy Start Healthy Futures for All coalition focused on early life health and breastfeeding. She is also a mom to four young children who provide daily lessons to her on being human.


Areas of Expertise: Anthropology, health services, evaluation, quantitative and qualitative research methods, maternal and child health, public health advocacy, school wellness, physical activity, and nutrition

Denise Octavia Walden, CHW

Denise works at Open Buffalo, where she leads initiatives related to justice and opportunity. She previously served as a Senior Community Health Worker with the Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo, where she worked as the Training and Community Outreach Coordinator. Denise is also certified as a Parent Leader and in Youth & Adult Mental Health First Aid, and holds certificates in many areas concerning families of children with special needs. She is also the committee chair for the Special Education and Empowerment Committee of the Buffalo Public Schools District Parent Coordinating Council, and serves as a mentor to young ladies through a small organization she started (The Bold Blessed Beauties), where she teaches her mentees to be leaders in their community by overcoming barriers and to carry themselves in a manner they can feel great about. Denise is a licensed ordained Minister, serving on the leadership team at Renovation Church, where she provides spiritual support to families and individuals.  Denise is dedicated to improving the quality of life and outcomes of individuals and families, raising community awareness of cultural and social barriers, and using her power as a Community Health Worker to make her community and the world a better place.

Areas of Expertise: Mental health, education and special education, asset-based community development, team building, family support service navigation, and advocacy.

Michael Chase, B.S., CHW

Michael is a Public Health Educator with the Erie County Department of Health. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Buffalo State College and has been working with the county for the past 18 years. Michael is the Public Health Coordinator of the HIV Partner Services Program and is able to work closely with the Buffalo Public Schools providing HIV and STD education to youth, teachers, and administrators. He has provided sexual health education to various professional and community organizations, is the co-chair of the Sexual Health Committee for the Buffalo Public Schools, is on the Buffalo Public Schools YRBS committee, the Community Relations Chair of the Erie
County Coalition Against Family Violence, and has been appointed by the NYS Commissioner of Health to the NYS HIV Prevention Planning Group.

Areas of expertise: Public health education, HIV/STD education, adolescent sexual health education, sexually transmitted disease intervention specialist, HIV partner services counselor, domestic violence advocate/education, and conference/event planning.


Grace Tate, CHW

Grace is the Vice President of Community Initiatives and Human Resources at Buffalo Urban League (BUL). She directs the Housing and YouthBuild programs, as well as BUL’s Minority and Women’s Revolving Loan Trust Fund. Additionally, she serves as the community liaison for health and wellness related initiatives and oversees projects and opportunities related to business and economic development. She also serves on the boards of the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS of Buffalo, Community Advisory Steering Committee for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the American Diabetes Association. Ms. Tate is the President and Board Chair of the First Shiloh Housing Corporation.


Areas of Expertise: Human resources, community development, diabetes, HIV/AIDS

Sherman D. Webb, B.A., CHW 


Sherman is on staff at the Community Health Worker Network as the Training and Community Engagement Coordinator. Sherman is an experienced CHW who volunteered with the Network for many years, starting as a student CHW conducting school health work, and then assisting with training and advocacy work. He has worked at a wide variety of organizations including Leaving Our Legacy, Gateway-Longview, Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, and Riverside Boys and Girls Club.  His background includes health education, youth and schools-based work, residential counseling and case management, and teaching and training in a variety of community and professional settings.

Areas of expertise: Youth Development, Adolescent Sexual Health, HIV/STD Education, Trauma Informed Care, Restorative Justice, Behavioral Health, Public Speaking

Khadijah Hussein, CHW

Khadijah works with the Community Health Worker Network as our lead student CHW and youth trainer. She came to the United States from Kenya when she was 7 years old. She is a 2016 graduate of International Prep High School, who completed high school in 3 years and is currently enrolled at University at Buffalo studying Biomedical Sciences.  Khadijah was trained as a student Community Health Worker as a high school junior, and applied her work as a Buffalo Public Schools' student serving on her School Wellness Team, as a Youth Advisor Council member of HYPE (Healthy Youth Positive Energy), and as staff at the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) mobile market.  Khadijah was the recipient of a 100% Campaign national award, has been a speaker and trainer at many conferences and events, and is also a coach for Westside International Soccer.

Areas of Expertise: Youth engagement, immigrant/refugee health, food and nutrition.

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