HEAL Overview


The purpose of the Healthy Eating – Active Living (HEAL) Guide is to provide important information on healthy eating and physical activity and their relationship to health.  The HEAL Guide was developed as a training tool by and for community health workers (CHWs) and other peer educators.  It can be used in a training-of-trainers format to train experienced CHWs and it can be used by those experienced CHWs to train other CHWs. The activities and information sharing techniques can also be used with clients who need information to improve their health. Please click here to download the HEAL brochure.

Program Description

HEAL is a 30-hour curriculum on healthy eating and physical activity for community health workers (CHWs) and their clients.  It reflects the commitment of a coalition of community organizations, health care providers, and government agencies in Chicago who came together to tackle the epidemic of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in low-income Hispanic/Latino and African American communities.

There are lots of curricula out there on healthy eating. This curriculum brings together elements of successful educational programs and adds some new features.

  • HEAL is a combination healthy eating and physical activity curricula, integrating both topics into each class session.
  • HEAL is about CHWs and for CHWs and reflects their voices. CHWs were members of the CEED@Chicago Health Literacy/CHW committee that oversaw HEAL’s development. They helped shape the activities based on their own challenges and successful experiences as health educators; they participated in focus groups to identify specific content areas and then pilot tested and evaluated the curriculum.
  • HEAL focuses on teaching skills as well as content. It shows how to teach using interactive and engaging strategies.
  • HEAL is based on adult learning principles and a popular education approach that recognizes that we are all teachers and learners.

Using the HEAL Guide

HEAL was developed with two uses in mind: to train experienced CHWs to train other CHWs, and to train CHWs who will use it immediately in their work with clients. HEAL can also be helpful to other health educators and social service providers with an interest in increasing the healthy eating and physical activity of their clients

HEAL is available for free to use in organizational and community settings. For more information, please contact us at mwlatino@uic.edu.