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Posted: October 18, 2021


October 18, 2021

Indian Health Service awards $7.7 million to support national expansion of the Community Health Aide Program

The Indian Health Service has awarded grants totaling $7.7 million over two years to 10 tribes and tribal organizations to support the expansion of the Community Health Aide Program to the contiguous 48 states.

“The Community Health Aide Program is vital to rural and remote communities across Indian Country as the need for access to care in primary, dental, and behavioral health increases,” said IHS Acting Director Elizabeth Fowler. “The funds we are announcing today enable greater flexibility for tribes and tribal organizations and target resources for planning, assessing feasibility, and implementation of the program.”

Seven tribes and tribal organizations are each receiving $669,000 over two years through the CHAP Tribal Assessment and Planning grant program to assist with the planning and assessment of whether the CHAP workforce model would be an appropriate fit for their existing tribal health system and their health care needs in the fields of primary, behavioral, and oral health.

CHAP Tribal Assessment and Planning Grant

Name of Applicant City ST Total Award Amount
Wichita and Affiliated Tribes Anadarko OK $669,000
Indian Health Council, Inc. Valley Center CA $669,000
California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc. Roseville CA $669,000
Three Affiliated Tribes New Town ND $669,000
Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Foundation Oklahoma City OK $669,000
Navajo Nation, Division of Behavioral and Mental Health Services Window Rock AZ $669,000
Kickapoo Tribal Health Center McLoud OK $669,000

Three tribes and tribal organizations are each receiving $1 million over two years through the CHAP Tribal Planning and Implementation grant program to support the final planning and implementation to begin operating a CHAP and support the regional flexibility required to implement a CHAP unique to the needs of their individual communities. 

CHAP Tribal Planning and Implementation Grant

Name of Applicant City ST Total Award Amount
Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board Portland OR $1,000,000
Fort Belknap Indian Community Harlem MT $1,000,000
Lummi Nation Bellingham WA $1,000,000

IHS designed the CHAP Tribal Assessment and Planning and Tribal Planning and Implementation grant programs from feedback received during formal tribal consultation and stakeholder engagement across the Indian health system on the use of Fiscal Year 2020 funding to support expansion.

CHAP provides for the education and training of tribal behavioral, community, and dental health mid-level providers who work as part of a team with other health professionals to provide increased access to quality health care, health promotion, and disease prevention services, initially serving rural Alaskan areas. In 2016, IHS initiated tribal consultation to consult on expanding the program to the lower 48 states.

In 2018, the IHS convened a CHAP Tribal Advisory Group to ensure the agency adequately represented the questions and concerns from tribes, tribal organizations and urban Indian organizations across the country. To better understand the needs of American Indian and Alaska Native communities before the CHAP expansion, the IHS participated in numerous listening sessions, focus groups, and planning meetings.

As an expansion of the Alaska Community Health Aide Program, the national CHAP will be similar to the Alaska model in that it will foster innovative service delivery for the IHS by augmenting the existing workforce with mid-level paraprofessionals, utilizing culturally competent providers, and providing workforce development opportunities for locally developed staff.

The CHAP policy may be accessed through the Indian Health Manual under Circular 20-06. For more background on the CHAP expansion, visit

The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.6 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 574 federally recognized tribes in 37 states. Follow the agency via social media on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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