HealthTeamWorks applauds the work of Community Health Workers (CHWs) across the country!

Impacting the health of total populations and achieving an environment of health equity is something we care deeply about. But creating the opportunity for everyone to have a fair and just opportunity to reach their maximum health potential is an extraordinarily complex goal to achieve. To get there, health disparities must be reduced and ultimately eliminated. Those of us in healthcare now understand that these factors must be addressed if we want to improve health outcomes for the long term. While strategies to improve the quality of care delivery are many and varied, there is a growing body of strategies aimed outward and into communities. Incorporating and embracing the value of CHWs is an incredibly effective strategy to help get us fully embedded and engaged with communities. According to the American Public Health Association, a Community Health Worker is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the worker to 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.

The presence of the CHW workforce has experienced rapid growth across the country in recent years. CHWs are part of an important workforce and need validation and infrastructure to support them in their work. Great gains are being made but there is more work to be done. Here are a few resources to learn more about the efforts to further awareness, support and adoption of this workforce:

State CHW information. The National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP) tracks policy and other activity impacting CHWs across the country. They host a state-by-state, clickable map of the US where you can learn more about CHW activity in any state. Learn more about CHW models.

Association Support. The National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW) is a rapidly growing national association uniting CHWs and their allies to support communities in achieving health, equity and social justice.

CHW Training Guidelines. The CHW Core Consensus Project aims to establish national consensus on a set of comprehensive CHW roles, skills and qualities that provide guidance for improving CHW practice and policy. The C3Project has become a “go to” resource for fostering awareness and understanding of the work CHWs can and are doing.

CHW Training. The Iowa Chronic Care Consortium offers a comprehensive CHW training program using a blended learning approach of on demand content (based on C3 guidelines) and live, virtual training experience to prepare new CHWs and refresh and advance the skills of experienced CHWs in the US. Learn more about the CHW Professional Skills training.

National CHW Awareness Week is August 28 - September 1. Our organizations are thrilled to have a role in supporting and training community health workers. Please join us in celebrating this workforce and honoring who they are and all that they do – we believe in the power CHWs have to drive positive change!