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What Is a Community Health Worker?

What Is a Community Health Worker?

Aug 25, 2023

There are multiple nonmedical factors that can influence health outcomes for many people, particularly those in underserved communities. These social drivers of health are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of-life risks and outcomes. The emergence of community health workers (CHWs) has proven to be a game-changer in bridging this gap. These professionals work to support their communities, empower individuals to reach their personal health goals, and make health care more accessible for all.

How do CHWs support the community? 

A CHW is a non-medical staff member who is from the community they serve. A CHW helps people manage the challenging aspects of life that go beyond medical matters. Their mission is to improve health outcomes by addressing the unique needs and challenges individuals and families face. 

Specifically, CHWs can provide that support by: 

  • Coordinating care and making medical appointments
  • Helping with translation, transportation, access to healthy food, childcare, work, and housing
  • Providing culturally appropriate health education and information
  • Working to create and reach health goals
  • Connecting individuals with community resources
  • Providing resources for life coaching and skill-building 

"Community health workers act as a bridge between health care providers and the community, serving as trusted advisors and advocates for individuals facing barriers to achieving optimal health," says April Venable, System Vice President of Clinical Service Lines, Inspira Health.

How do CHWs work to help people reach individualized health goals? 

One of the strengths of a CHW is their ability to provide personalized support. They develop strong relationships built on trust and understanding by meeting people right where they are—sometimes by going to the community member’s home or wherever they are most comfortable. This way, CHWs can tailor their approach to meet an individual's specific needs and goals.

"Community health workers take a holistic approach to health care, considering not only the physical but also the social, economic, and cultural factors that influence an individual's well-being," says Venable. "This comprehensive approach helps individuals set realistic health goals and equips them with the knowledge and tools to achieve and maintain them."

Who is eligible for CHW services? 

CHWs work with individuals from diverse backgrounds, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. 

"Community health workers are well-equipped to assist individuals at all stages of life, from prenatal care to managing chronic diseases," says Venable. "Their non-judgmental approach and cultural sensitivity make them highly effective in reaching and supporting underserved populations."

Community health workers are one of many unsung heroes of our health care system, working tirelessly to bridge gaps, improve health outcomes, and empower individuals to take charge of their health and overall wellness. By providing personalized support, education, advocacy, and connections to community resources, CHWs play a vital role in making health care accessible and inclusive.

Inspira offers guidance from a CHW at no cost based on your personal health and wellness needs. If you need guidance or support on your health journey, remember that community health workers are there to lend a helping hand and guide you toward achieving your personal health goals. For more information, call (856) 641-6299 ext. 5.

Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.

Topics: Community