Community Health Workers come in many titles including Promotores de Salud, Community Health Representatives (CHRs) in tribal nations, Community Health Advisors, and more.
The American Public Health Association's Community Health Worker Section has adopted the following definition for community health workers:
A community health worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community being served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.Â A CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.
Many CHW programs across the country have either adopted or adapted this language to define this workforce, and many, if not most, of the programs across the U. S. also subscribe to a core set of competencies for CHWs regardless of the many titles under which these workers are prepared to serve.
The following list of core competencies was elucidated in "The National Community Health Advisor Study (1998)," which was well informed by working and seasoned community health workers and employers across the country. The National Community Health Advisor Study was a policy research project of the University of Arizona, directed by E. Lee Rosenthal, MPH, PhD and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The CHW workforce is now receiving increasing overall recognition and growth, including:
University of Arizona
Arizona Area Health Education Centers Program
1834 Mabel St. Tucson, AZ 85721