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The CHERL (Community Health Educator Referral Liaison) serves in three capacities: to support patients, to support practices, and to link to community resources. The CHERL enhances the relationship between the patient and their primary care provider to support self management. The addition of the CHERL to the primary care practice team supports self management at all risk levels: keeping people healthy, reducing health risks with lifestyle improvements, and improved management of chronic illness. In contrast to other programs, the CHERL does not focus solely on the highest risk patients, but places significant emphasis on keeping healthy people healthy. The CHERL focuses on promoting healthy behaviors to prevent and manage chronic disease with the greatest emphasis on those behaviors with the most impact; physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco avoidance. The CHERL reaches out to the patient and their family in their home through telephone and other communications to maintain their relationship and provide ongoing support. The CHERL provides crucial integration with the primary care practice team to assure continuity of care and smooth transition between community services and various components of the health system.

Key Elements:
  • Positive supportive relationships
  • Focus on health rather than just disease
  • Functions as a member of the primary care practice team
  • Promotes self management
  • Facilitates access to community services


  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prescription for Health Program
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Michigan Department of Community Health
  • Greater Flint Health Coalition
  • Genesee Health Plan
  • Grand Rapids Medical Education and Research Center for Health Professions
Partner institutions:
  • Michigan State University Department of Family Medicine
  • Marquette General Health System
  • Advantage Health Physicians Network
  • McLaren Regional Medical Center
  • Genesys Health System
  • Genesys Physician Hospital Organization
  • Hamilton Community Health Network
  • Cherry Street Health Services
  • And the practices affiliated with these institutions

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