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Who Are

Community Health Workers?

A community health worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a link, liaison, or intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A CHW also builds 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. CHWs are also referred to as:

•    Community health advisors

•    Promotores(as)

•    Outreach workers

•    Navigators

 •    Peer health educators

 •    Community health representatives

 •    Lay health workers 

CHW Workforce Study

Click to view a snapshot of the CHW Workforce Study commissioned in 2019 by the Louisiana State Legislature.

Strategies to Support CHWs

Click to view a pdf with tips on how your organization can support CHWs.

FAQs about CHWs

Learn more about the profession.

Unlike other health related professions, CHWs

  • Do not provide clinical care

  • Generally do not hold another professional license

  • Expertise is usually based on shared life experiences and culture with the population served

  • Rely on relationships and trust more than clinical expertise

  • Relate to community members as peers rather than purely clients 

  • Can achieve certain results more effectively than other professionals

What do they do?

  • Cultural mediation between communities, health, and human service systems

  • Provide culturally appropriate health education and information

  • Assure people get the services they need

  • Informal counseling and social support

  • Advocate for individual and community needs

  • Provide some direct services and meet basic needs

  • Build individual and community capacity

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