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Module 1: Community Health Workers

Community health worker (CHW) is an umbrella term describing public health and/or social service workers who are close to and serve members of the community by helping them to adopt healthy behaviors. They may work for pay or volunteer in association with a local agency, organization, or healthcare system. They usually share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, values, and life experiences with the community members they serve. CHWs are:

  • Selected by the community
  • Responsive to the needs of community members
  • Trained in context of health interventions
  • Recognized by health services and certification authorities
  • Not necessarily certified as professional or paraprofessional

CHWs and their duties are as diverse as the communities they serve, and CHWs are dependent on those communities for support.

In this module: