purpose of the Traditional Health Worker (THW) program is to help THWs
in Oregon become trained and certified to meet current standards,
diversify the health care workforce, provide high-quality and culturally
competent care to our increasingly diverse populations and ultimately
promote health equity.
Once you are certified with the Oregon Health Authority, we will add you
to our state registry. The registry is a reliable, trusted source for
finding a traditional health worker in Oregon.
Who is eligible?
Traditional Health Workers (THWs) help individuals in their
communities, providing physical and behavioral health services. There
are five traditional health worker types:
A (Birth) Doula is a birth companion who provides personal, nonmedical
support to women and families throughout a woman's pregnancy,
childbirth, and post-partum experience. (From original version of the
THW rules, 410-180-0300).
A Peer Support Specialist is any [range of] individuals who provide
supportive services to a current or former consumer of mental health or
addiction treatment. (From ORS 414.025).
A Peer Wellness Specialist is an individual who has lived experience
with a psychiatric condition(s) plus intensive training, who works as
part of a person-driven, health home team, integrating behavioral health
and primary care to assist and advocate for individuals in achieving
A Personal Health Navigator is an individual who provides information,
assistance, tools and support to enable a patient to make the best
health care decisions.
- CHW: A
Community Health Worker is a frontline public health worker who is a
trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the
community served. (APHA CHW Section).
Criteria for becoming a certified traditional health worker or renewing your certification
You must meet all of these criteria to become certified by the Oregon Health Authority:
If you submit a renewal application with a different email address than your original application, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, as soon as possible, otherwise you will be issued a new THW number. Please, always provide us with a permanent email address.
Please know, for privacy reasons, we correspond only with individual applicants regarding the status of their application.
Criminal background check
Once we receive your Traditional Health Worker application and
supporting documents, you'll get an email from our Background Check
unit. Complete the background check application and return it to us. If
you've lived outside of Oregon in the past five years, you'll also need
to submit fingerprints. The background check is required even if you
have had one in the past. This process will take about 4-8 weeks and all
costs are covered by the Oregon Health Authority. If you meet all the
requirements and pass the background check, we'll notify you by mail and
add your information to the Authority's registry of certified
traditional health workers.
The following documents must be prepared before submitting for review:
- Traditional Health Worker Full Certification and Renewal Application
- Copy of your training certificate from an OHA-approved training program
- Clear copy of a government-issued identification
Send your application and documents to:
Traditional Health Worker Program
Office of Equity and Inclusion
421 SW Oak St. Suite 750
Portland, Oregon 97204
Do you have a civil rights complaint or concern regarding THW services?
For additional Information about the THW program, please contact us at: