Feeding the Hungry is How This Community Health Worker Grad is Making a Difference

Caitlin Anderson graduated from CNM’s Community Health Worker certificate program and immediately made an impact at the Roadrunner Food Bank
July 28, 2023

Caitlin Anderson has always chosen a field of work where she could help people. She worked as a life coach and also has a PhD in Higher Education Administration. But because of a chronic illness, she was looking for a job she could do from home.

To make the switch Caitlin, who’s 57, reached out to New Mexico’s Senior Community Service Employment (CSEP) program and working with CSEP she was able to attend CNM’s Community Health Worker program. After receiving her CHW certificate, Caitlin transitioned to a permanent position as a Community Health Worker at Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque.

Like many states, New Mexico has a continual need for Community Health Workers who help people in New Mexico access and navigate community health care at the state level. New Mexico relies on CHWs as critical members of health care delivery teams who receive training to assist in the social aspects of care that enhance services provided by professionals.

In CNM’s CHW program, Caitlin learned a wide variety of skills that looked at everything from communication to health service coordination to patient decision making. She was also encouraged by the social justice component of CHW work.

“The most important aspect about being a Community Health Worker for me is the word ‘community’ and having a commitment to populations who are underserved, undocumented, marginalized, or unhoused. The need is so apparent,” she says.

Today, Caitlin works in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Outreach Center at Roadrunner Food Bank helping individuals apply for SNAP, find food in their area, and stay connected to additional community resources.

“This is the first job I’ve ever had where someone called me a saint! People are hungry and I can help them find food,” she says.

She started at Roadrunner as an intern but was able to turn the internship into a full-time job where she works from home. As a CHW grad she knows that there are many other opportunities as well in fields including primary care, addiction and recovery, community-assistance programs, family planning, and more.

For anyone thinking about enrolling in the CHW certificate program, Caitlin is nothing but encouraging. 

“The Community Health Worker program can help you think about what you’re interested in, enhance what you do, and change how you work with people,” she says.

She’s grateful to CNM for helping her funnel her passion into a role that makes a difference for the hungry in New Mexico.

“I love CNM. They turn on a dime to provide programs that are needed for industries that are growing,” she says. “There is such a high demand in New Mexico for people who have the drive and compassion to work with those often forgotten or marginalized. And at 57, this works for me!”