The American Public Health Association defines Community Health Workers as frontline public health workers who are trusted members of, or have an unusually close understanding of, the community served. This trusting relationship enables the workers to serve as links between health services, social services and the community, which facilitates access and improves the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.
Hello, I’m Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs, Director of Health Communication at Southeast Missouri State University...and now, also, a Certified Community Health Worker.
Tim Berthold describes the international origins of this type of work in his text, Foundations for Community Health Workers. Feldshers in Russia, “barefoot doctors” in China and promotores de salud throughout Latin America led the World Health Organization to say that “village health workers” were the best strategy for achieving community participation in health.
A 2017 study in The American Journal of Public Health found a standardized Community Health Worker intervention improved chronic disease control, mental health, quality of care, and hospitalizations and could be a useful population health management tool for health care systems. However, one of the most crucial aspects of what Community Health Workers do is bring humanity and advocacy to our healthcare model.