Community Health Workers
" The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. "
~ Mohandas Gandhi
Who are Community Health Workers?
Community Health Workers are frontline public health worker, trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. CHWs 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. They 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.
CHWs assist individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors in the following ways:
- Conduct outreach to implement programs that promote, maintain, and improve health;
- Provide information on resources, and offer social support and informal counseling;
- Advocate for health needs, and provide basic health services;
- Serve as members of a patient’s care delivery team, working under supervision of an RN.
How do CHWs compare with PCAs, HHAs or MAs?
CHWs, Mas, PCAs and HHAs all maintain patient records and have direct patient interaction. What sets CHWs apart is their role in helping connect individuals and communities with care and support through home visits, in a clinic or at a community center.
What are job opportunities for CHW?
CHWs may work with people who have a specific health concern or disease;
e.g., to help pregnant women with prenatal care, or help people with diabetes or heart disease how to properly monitor their chronic illness. CHWs might also work with a community to identify health concerns and connect community members to available resources. Studies show that CHWs are key players in chronic disease management, access to mental health services, health insurance enrollment, immunization drives, HIV/AIDS treatment, and maternal-child health interventions.