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Community Health Workers
In the United States, community health workers help us meet our national health goals by conducting community-level activities and interventions that promote health and prevent disease and disability.
Community health workers (including promotores de salud, community health representatives, community health advisors, patient navigators, and others) are frontline, culturally competent, public health workers who serve as a bridge between underserved communities and healthcare systems. They are from, or have a close understanding of, the community served.
- Cancer Screening
- Breast cancer
- Recommended based on strong evidence of effectiveness in increasing breast cancer screening (by mammography).
- Cervical cancer
- Recommended based on strong evidence of effectiveness in increasing breast cancer screening (by Pap test).
- Colorectal cancer
- Recommended based on strong evidence of effectiveness in increasing colorectal cancer screening (by colonoscopy or fecal occult blood test [FOBT])
- Breast cancer
- Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
- Recommended based on strong evidence of effectiveness in improving blood pressure and cholesterol when community health workers are engaged in a team-based care model.
- Diabetes Prevention
- Recommended based on sufficient evidence of effectiveness in improving blood glucose level control and weight-related outcomes among people at increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Diabetes Management
- Recommended based on strong evidence of effectiveness in improving blood glucose level and lipid control and reducing health care use among patients who have type 2 diabetes.
Webinar: Engaging Community Health Workers to Prevent and Manage Disease
The Community Guide
September 20, 2017
What is the Role of a Community Health Worker?
Community health workers may address a broad range of health issues or provide a wide range of services for a specific health issue. Community health workers deliver services through one-one-one interactions or in group sessions that can take place in homes or community settings. They deliver program content alone or as a part of an intervention team comprised of clinicians, counselors, and other health professionals. Community health workers can be engaged in one or more of the following HRSA Models of Care :
- Screening and health education providers
- Outreach, enrollment, and information agents
- Members of care delivery teams
- Patient navigators
- Community organizers
Community health workers typically do not have a professional title and usually receive on-the-job training. They provide culturally appropriate outreach and services and can play an important role in improving health and enhancing health equity in underserved or minority communities.
In 2016, the Community Health Worker Core Consensus (C3) Project made recommendations on community health workers roles, skills, and qualities. These include the Ten Core Roles of a Community Health Worker :
- Cultural mediation among individuals, communities, and health and social services systems
- Providing culturally appropriate health Education and information
- Care coordination, case management, and system navigation
- Providing coaching and social support
- Advocating for individuals and communities
- Building individual and community capacity
- Providing direct service
- Implementing individual and community assessments
- Conducting outreach
- Participating in evaluation and research
Navigating The Community Guide as a Community Health Worker
The Community Guide has various resources and materials available to support community health workers looking to use CPSTF recommendations in their work.
- Subscribe – Subscribe to The Community Guide to receive updates about topics of interest.
- User Profile – Create a User Profile to receive customized features related to your role
- Resource Search Filter – Navigate through The Community Guide’s resources
- Guide Compass – Select “Lay Health Worker/CHW/Promotora” and a desired purpose to find related Community Guide tools, resources, action stories, and things to think about
Community Guide in Action
- AMIGAS: Promoting Cervical Cancer Screening among Hispanic Women
- Black Corals: A Gem of Cancer Screening Program in South Carolina
- Community Cancer Screening Program: Implementing Interventions to Address Disparities
- Familias Sanas y Activas: Improving Health among Latinos in San Diego
- New York: Increasing Cancer Screenings, Saving Lives
Other Tools and Resources
- CDC Community Health Worker (CHW) Toolkit
- CDC State, Tribal, Local & Territorial Public Health Professionals Gateway – CHW Resources
- Addressing Chronic Disease through Community Health Workers: A Policy and Systems-Level Approach
CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CHW Policy Brief
- APHA Communities: Community Health Workers
- ASTHO Health Systems Transformation: Community Health Workers
Additional Reviews of Interest to Community Health Workers
Asthma: Home-Based Multi-Trigger, Multicomponent Environmental Interventions
Cancer Screening: Multicomponent Interventions
Cancer Screening: One-on-One Education for Clients
Cancer Screening: Group Education for Clients
Cancer Screening: Reducing Structural Barriers