Module 1: Introduction to 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 as volunteers for a local agency, organization, or healthcare facility. CHWs share similarities with the community members they serve such as ethnicity, language, culture, socioeconomic status, values, and life experiences. In general, CHWs are:
- Trusted members of the community they serve
- Responsive to the needs of community members
- Trained in the context of health interventions
- Recognized by health services and certification authorities
- Not necessarily certified as professionals or paraprofessionals
CHWs and their duties are as diverse as the communities they serve.