A community health worker serves as a liaison between the community and the health care, government and social service systems. CHW's are the people on the front lines, providing advocacy, education and support to the community in order to help them improve their lifestyle and connect them with their proper healthcare options. Community health workers serve as an advocate within a community such as: church, professional, social, civic and business organizations. They help provide culturally appropriate health education and information to help individuals get the care they need.
Where do community health workers work?
Community health workers often live in the communities they serve, whether that’s rural, urban or somewhere in between. There is typically a larger need for CHWs in underprivileged, marginalized communities where resources are limited or there’s a lack of access to quality healthcare.
There is also variety when it comes to actual work settings for community health worker jobs. The most common places of employment are individual and family services, government agencies and religious or civic organizations.
What are some common responsibilities of community health workers?
It should come as no surprise that the job duties can vary greatly depending on where a community health worker serves. Depending on the specific role, tasks could vary from staffing tables at community events, helping individuals complete applications to access health benefits, or conducting home visits to check on clients.
Below are some general job duties many community health workers take on:
Discuss health concerns with community members
Provide informational counseling and social support
Help people understand their health conditions
Translate or interpret health information for clients
Organize outreach programs
Provide health screenings, referrals and educational materials
Advocate for individual and community health needs
Collect data and report findings to healthcare providers
Regardless of where community health workers serve or what type of populations they’re serving, one thing remains constant...they devote their careers to helping educate and improve the health of their neighbors, friends, family, and community.