The Esther M. Holderby Extraordinary CHW Award

The Esther M. Holderby Extraordinary CHW Award honors a CHW, CHR or promotor(a) with 5 or more years of experience and who has overcome personal adversity to promote health in their community. In addition to promoting health in his or her community, the recipient of the award will have advocated for funding and/or services needed in their community to promote health. The nominee does not need to work in cancer education or prevention.

Ms. Holderby was a 4-time, 25- year cancer survivor and an extraordinarily dedicated CHW. She lost her battle with breast cancer in 2005. Until shortly before her passing, Esther continued to educate both men and women about the importance of early detection. Ms. Holderby was passionate about reaching as many community members as possible. She was a celebrity on local television and radio broadcast taking every possible opportunity to educate the community. Additionally, she advocated for sustainable funding for CHWs and public health as an active member of the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers and the Massachusetts Public Health Association.

The Esther M. Holderby Extraordinary CHW Award, formally known as the Esther M. Holderby Dedicated CHW was established by the Holderby family in 2006. Since establishing the award, a CHW has been honored each year at the Unity Conference. Unity was an important event in Esther’s life. She described Unity as a “family reunion” after attending her first conference. She also presented at Unity several times, often with her daughter, Lisa Renee.

The recipient of the receives a recognition award, certificate, and a 1-year CHW membership for the National Association of Community Health Workers. The award, certificate and membership are provided by the Holderby Family in memory of Esther.

Past Recipients:

  • Martha Byler, OH (2006)
  • Anita Buel, MN (2007)
  • Milta Franco, MA (2008)
  • Martha Ramirez, FL (2009)
  • Corinne Justine, AZ (2010)
  • Maria Lopez, OR (2011)
  • Ezekiel Lopes, MA (2012)
  • Ron Sanders, CA (2014)
  • Zee Turner, MD (2014) Posthumously
  • Linda Medrano, TX (2015)
  • Terri Price, MI (2016)
  • Wanda Castillo, NH (2017)
  • Naomi Cottoms, AR (2019)
  • Renee Chavez-Maes, NM (2022)

Since 2006, many additional extraordinary CHWs have been awarded Certificates of Honorable Mention for their dedication to improving community health.

Award criteria:

  • Be a community health worker, community health representative or promotor(a) de salud.
  • Have at least 5 years’ experience as a CHW, CHR or promotor(a) de salud.
  • Have made a significant contribution to community health.
  • Be an advocate for the community served.
  • Be active in local, state, or national CHW, CHR or promotor(a) de salud organizations or groups.