Community health workers

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help residents access health services. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.

Program overview

  • 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

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

  • 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

Best practices in 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.