A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a trusted individual who contributes to improved health outcomes in the community. CHWs serve the communities in which they reside or communities with which they may share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, or life experiences. The term “community health worker,” includes but is not limited to other titles such as outreach worker, patient navigator and promotores de salud.

A Community Health Worker proactively:

  • 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;
  • serves as a liaison between communities and health care agencies;
  • provides guidance and social assistance to community residents;
  • enhances community residents’ ability to effectively communicate with healthcare providers;
  • provides culturally and linguistically appropriate health education;
  • advocates for individual and community health;
  • provides referral and follow-up services or otherwise coordinates care; and
  • identifies and helps enroll eligible individuals in federal, state, and local private or nonprofit health and human services programs.