Community Health Worker
What is a Community Health Worker (CHW)
A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a front-line public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the worker to serve as a liaison/ link/ intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.
A Community Health Worker also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy.
–The American Public Health Association
Why use a Community Health Worker?
Health starts in the home and the community. CHWs meet with their clients in their homes or a community meeting setting and support them to reach their health-improvement goals.
CHWs provide critical services that bridge the gaps that often lead to an individual needing to return to the hospital or the worsening of their chronic disease.
CHWs identify and reduce challenges to getting healthier by helping people learn to manage their illnesses, connect to community resources and services, better understand providers’ instructions, and learn to speak up for their own healthcare needs.
Whereas patients are often ashamed or embarrassed to share all their needs or concerns with their healthcare provider– or sometimes there just isn’t enough time during medical appointments– CHWs can delve into the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) needs that are negatively impacting the management of patients’ illnesses and provide them with relatable health information specific to their situation.
A CHW is an individual who is trained to partner with you (or your patient) to build a healthier life such as:
- set goals that you want to reach
- identify and reduce challenges to getting healthier
- better understand a provider’s instructions such when to take medications
- learn to manage a chronic illnesses
- connect to community resources and services
- explore healthy choices
- learn to speak up for your healthcare needs
- Assist in getting healthcare insurance
A CHW will meet you (or your patient) in their home or community and provide support you to reach health related goals.
A CHW cannot:
- provide money for immediate needs
- administer medications
- provide any clinical services
- give financial or legal advice or counseling
- complete insurance enrollment for a client
Learn about NCHC's Community Health Worker Program
For more information about the NCHC Community Health Worker Program, Ways2Wellness CONNECT, go to Ways2Wellness.org or contact Program Manager, Amber Culver: email@example.com