Community health workers
- Serve a variety of functions including providing outreach, education, referral and follow-up, case management, advocacy, and home visiting services
- May work independently in the community or as part of a multidisciplinary team in primary or specialty care
- Training varies widely with intended role and location
- Usually work with underserved communities and individuals at high risk of poor health outcomes
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)
Strong (second-highest tier)
Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
Outcomes and impact
- Improved patient knowledge, access to health care, and healthy behaviors, especially for minority women
- Improved health in minority or underserved communities, reducing disparities in health outcomes and enhancing healthy equity
- Improved access to care for patients who may not otherwise receive care, such as older adults from ethnic minority populations
Keys to successful implementation
- This content is under review
- Community health workers should be integrated into health care systems with clearly defined roles and regular meetings with medical and administrative staff.
- To better establish trust with patients, community health workers should develop relationships with community leaders in non-profits, religious institutions, schools, etc.
- Medicaid, CHIP, and MIECH-V funds can often be used to support community health workers.