Health Navigation Training

Health Navigator Certification Training

Pacific Clinics Training Institute's Health Navigator Certification Training Program, also known as Peer Health Navigation, is a promising practice conducted through the Pacific Clinics Training Institute (PCTI) in collaboration with the USC School of Social Work. PCTI is the only approved training provider of this certification. The program is designed to train the behavioral health workforce and other social service providers to teach consumers to effectively "navigate" the medical healthcare system through the development of self-management skills. Health Navigation provides a viable solution to the problem of early mortality faced by those with serious mental illness. The Health Navigator Certification Training Program prepares agencies to implement healthcare reform through the provision of integrated services. Peer partners, advocates, case managers, community workers, consumers, family members, NAMI members and others are ideal candidates for this training.

The Health Navigator Certification Training program certifies the behavioral health workforce to provide the skills and tools required to effectively link consumers of behavioral health services to critical services in the physical healthcare system. This Training Program includes a Supervisor component designed to prepare program administrators to successfully integrate Health Navigation activities into their organizations and individual programs. The training program includes a Health Navigator Intervention Manual which describes in detail the skills and competencies needed to serve as a Health Navigator.

After attending this training, Health Navigators will:

  1. Understand the barriers that those with serious mental illness face when trying to access medical care.
  2. Identify and screen appropriate consumers for Health Navigation.
  3. Conduct an initial assessment of the consumer's health and wellness status and access to health care.
  4. Collaborate with the consumer, family members and mental health staff to establish health and wellness goals.
  5. Coach the consumer to achieve his/her health and wellness goals through behavioral strategies such as shaping, modeling and fading.
  6. Assist the consumer with communicating their health care needs and progress to their mental health staff.
  7. Conduct follow-along assessments.

Phases of Health Navigation Training

  • Phase 1: Orientation
    • Agency Supervisor Orientation
    • Trainee Orientation
  • Phase 2: Recovery Principles, Cultural Considerations, Co-Occurring Disorders and Benefits Establishment Component
  • Phase 3: Health Navigation Skill Development Training
  • Phase 4: Supervisor Implementation Meeting
    • Prepare for agency implementation
  • Phase 5: Implementation
    • Assessments, modeling and coaching
    • Fading and consumer self-management
  • Phase 6: Navigation Coaching Sessions
  • Phase 7: Outcome Reports
  • Phase 8: Certification

Private and Community Health Navigator Training Cohorts

  • Private Cohort: Up to 40 participants from one organization. Offered onsite at the agency upon request. (Multiple agencies (2-4) can host a collaborative agency cohort, sponsoring designated agency staff for certification.)
  • Community Cohort: Up to 40 participants from several organizations. Each agency is encouraged to sponsor 2-10 staff members to receive training in the community cohort offered at PCTI.

To request a private cohort training for your agency, please contact: Elva Pacheco, Institute Director at 626.793.5141, ext. 1310 or via email

Health Navigation Certification Training – A Widely Recognized Program

The Health Navigator Training Program and Health Navigation intervention itself has received federal recognition through multi-year funding from the UniHealth Foundation and PCORI (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute). Based on this success, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) has sponsored individuals for training from the Department and contracted providers since 2012.

View a video on the Training.

Health Navigation Competencies

Health Navigators connect mental health consumers with the healthcare system. In order to become a Certified Health Navigator, participants must complete the PCTI/USC Health Navigation Certification training and must demonstrate successful completion of core competencies by successfully engaging in Health Navigation with consumers.

Competencies required of all Certified Health Navigators:

  1. Screening
  2. Engagement: Describing all aspects of Health Navigation to a consumer
  3. Assessment
  4. Goal setting and goal achievement
  5. Health Navigation
  6. Monitoring Progress
  7. Documentation: Learning what is billable and how to document services
  8. Integration: Integrating health navigator activity with mental health service providers

Co-Occurring Disorders and Cultural Considerations in Health Navigation

The Health Navigation program provides services based on the unique needs, cultural perceptions and barriers of mental health consumers, including consumers who are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders. The Training Program addresses strategies for working with and empowering consumers with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Health Navigators engage consumers in a detailed screening process designed to uncover unmet medical conditions and barriers to accessing healthcare. As a part of this individualized treatment approach, it is important to consider the cultural components of wellness and cultural perceptions of the healthcare system. This training component focuses on cultural perceptions and barriers that ethnically-diverse populations face in accessing healthcare, and how staff can work with consumers from diverse backgrounds.


For Onsite Custom Training at:
1 (877) 9-MYPCTI
1 (877) 969-7284

Pacific Clinics Training Institute
2471 East Walnut Street
Pasadena, California 91107