About: NHC Community Health Fellowship

Mission & Vision

The National Health Corps fosters healthy communities by connecting those who need it most with health and wellness education, benefits, and services, while developing tomorrow’s compassionate health leaders. 

NHC envisions a nation where all people have the access to services and knowledge necessary to lead healthy, productive and fulfilling lives.

The NHC: Community Health Fellowship (CHF)  is a grass roots community health service program that trains local community residents as CHW's who are committed to addressing the unmet needs of underserved populations, and develops community health leaders.  The program has operating sites that implement the program in Central California, Delaware, Northeast Pennsylvania, and Greater Philadelphia. NHC members serve at 40 host sites in these communities, which include community and school-based health centers, county health departments, hospitals, and nonprofit and community-based public health organizations that experience challenges due to budgetary constraints and new demands for expansion and transformation of delivery systems.

All NHC Community Health Fellowship members must be residents* of the communities in one of the program’s locations. Full time members must complete  1,700 hours of service, and half time members  must complete 900 hours of service during a 42-46 week service term. Each member is matched with an organization in the community, called a “host site,” where they will complete most of their service. Service terms opportunities are  available year-round! Members also earn service hours for participating in other individual or group volunteer opportunities, trainings, professional development activities, and more!   

*NHC: CHF defines local residency in a community as a broad term. A person who wishes to apply for a position available in this program must be a local resident who lives in or nearby a host site service location.  OR, must have a cultural tie (language, in-depth knowledge about the communities population) OR specific professional experience that is needed to serve a particular community.  

NHC CHF members help build healthy communities by providing essential health education and access services to individuals in communities plagued by histories of racial and economic inequities, while receiving training opportunities with health, public health and equity experts ,and workforce development in three key public health roles-- community health worker, digital health navigator and/or medical interpreter. At the end of the their term of service, members will be eligible to apply for a state certification and/or other relevant recognized certification in their communities in these professions. A key priority for the NHC program is to eliminate health disparities and the underlying structural oppression* that perpetuates them.

*NHC defines "structural oppression" as a form of institutional discrimination against individuals or groups which disadvantages some or advantages others based on shared characteristics. It can be intentional or unintentional and involves systems and structures as they exist through policies, protocols, procedures, processes and practices embedded in a history or legacy of unquestioned or accepted norms, habits and symbols. At the core of oppression…culturally embedded patterns of isolation, separation and dominion over nature (e.g., disconnect source, distort story, dissociate body, distance emotion).


Addressing Social Determinants of Health 

According to US Department of Health and Human Services, Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. 

NHC: Community Health Fellows will be serving communities that are directly impacted and challenged by the SDOH conditions mentioned above. All community health fellows will be trained as a community health workers (CHW) in order to enhance their professional development, and learn essential skills that will help community organizations bridge the healthcare gap.

Bridging the Gap- NHC Community Health Fellows are not only serving members of the community, they are receiving unique on the ground training,  experience, and qualifications that will empower them to elevate their career/education path for the future.  Take a look at some of our member stories; (NEPADelaware , Greater Philadelphia)


What is a CHW?


According to the Department of Bureau and Labor Statistics,  Community Health Workers promote health within a community by assisting individuals to adopt healthy behaviors. Serve as an advocate for the health needs of individuals by assisting community residents in effectively communicating with healthcare providers or social service agencies. Act as liaison or advocate and implement programs that promote, maintain, and improve individual and overall community health. May deliver health-related preventive services such as blood pressure, glaucoma, and hearing screenings. May collect data to help identify community health needs. Click the link to learn more .



NHC's Impact

National Health Corps members join a group of more than 1 million dedicated individuals who have made a commitment to strengthening and serving their communities through a variety of AmeriCorps programs since 1994. Every year, more than 150 National Health Corps members provide critical supports and services to thousands of people across the United States.

NHC's History

NHC is an AmeriCorps program with a long, proud history. Over the past 30years, more than 2,800 NHC members have completed more than 3 million hours of service. At a time of unprecedented need and severely limited resources, NHC members have the opportunity to make lasting contributions in the communities in which they serve. 

NHC is one of the original AmeriCorps programs funded by AmeriCorps. The NHC grew out of a program first funded in 1994 by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which served as the coordinating agency. Three sub-grantees in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, then known collectively as the HRSA Health Corps, were the founding sites of what has grown into the NHC. In 1997, through a planned transition, the Allegheny County Health Department became the direct grantee of CNCS, issuing sub-grants to Philadelphia and Chicago and assuming the coordinating responsibilities of the NHC Parent Organization. At that time, the program name was changed to the National Health Corps. 

During the 2003 program year, the NHC was temporarily shut down when CNCS was forced to temporarily reduce funding across its program portfolio. However, the three original operating sites were determined to continue their collaboration and re-applied for funding in the following cycle. They were successful in receiving an operating grant, which included funding to support a new site in Florida, and re-established operation of the NHC in 2004 with the Health Federation of Philadelphia as the AmeriCorps national direct service grantee and NHC National Organization. 

In 2022, NHC grew into two collaborative programs:  NHC Public Health Leadership Corps (PHL)  and NHC Community Health Fellowship (CHF) that  includes a total of 157 members serving in Central California, Chicago, Delaware, Florida, Greater Philadelphia, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.