A Community Health Education Resource Person (CHERP) is a trained community member who provides information, support, and basic health care services to those who need help.

A CHERP is a paid or volunteer health specialist that helps friends, neighbors, and community members gain access to health care and develop a healthier lifestyle.

A CHERP is trained to answer basic questions about health, disease, nutrition, physical activity and health behaviors.

A CHERP is a partner with doctors, nurses, dietitians, personal trainers and others in promoting health.

A CHERP can train at one or more of six levels:

  1. Wellness Specialist,
  2. Health Promotion Specialist,
  3. Disease Prevention Specialist,
  4. Disease Management Specialist,
  5. Mental Health Specialist, and
  6. Health Counselor.

Anybody 18 or older, with an 8th grade education can certify as a CHERP. No experience is necessary to certify.

Training to become a CHERP is provided FREE through a grant awarded to the CRCH. Classes are held at numerous locations throughout the counties of southern West Virginia.

The research aspect of the CHERP project is to discover to what extent CHERPs are used in their communities. 

Become a CHERP

Interested in becoming a CHERP? Training to become a CHERP is free. Classes are held at locations throughout  West Virginia. 

Learn how you can be a health leader in your community. For more information or to register for future training, contact Joyce Martin or (304) 793-6571. The training is open to all individuals and no prior health care experience is required.

CHERP Advisory Board

Members of the CHERP Advisory Board are as follows:

  • Krista N. Farley, M.S. –  Director of Health Promotion.  Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. 
  • Larry Hamm, Ph.D. – Professor of Exercise Science at George Washington University, Washington DC. Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Past President of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine
  • Timothy Leonard, M.D., Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences and Pathology at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewisburg WV.
  • Alice Lindeman, Ph.D., R.D. – Associate Professor of Applied Health Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington IN. Registered dietitian, member of the American Dietetic Association, American Public Health Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine.
  • Gretchen Lovett, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewisburg WV. Clinical Psychologist and Learning Specialist.