What is a Community Health Worker (CHW)?
According to the Virginia Department of Health, a Community Health Worker is an “individual(s) who (i) applies his(her) unique understanding of the experience, language, and culture of the populations he(she) serves to promote healthy living and to help people take greater control over their health and lives and (ii) is trained to work in a variety of community settings, partnering in the delivery of health and human services to carry out one or more of the following roles: (a) providing culturally appropriate health education and information; (b) linking people to direct service providers, including informal counseling; (c) advocating for individual and community needs, including identification of gaps and existing strengths and actively building individual and community capacity.
Community Health Worker roles can be categorized as:
- Community Mobilization and Outreach
- Health Promotion and Coaching
- Service System Access and Navigation
- Care Coordination/Management
- Community-Based Support
- Participatory Research
This toolkit includes:
- Online courses, lessons learned, and best practices to help state health departments train and further build capacity for CHWs in their communities.
- Training and education materials for CHWs to use within their communities.
The Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) highlighted the Virginia Department of Health’s efforts on utilizing Community Health Workers to address hypertension and social determinants of health through “payer-provider-community models.” The speakers include State Health Commissioner Norm Oliver, Patrick Wiggins, and Keandra Holloway, a CHW at Richmond City Health District.