Community health workers

Program basics

  • 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

Target population


Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

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.

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