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
• Outreach workers
• 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