Community Health Workers (CHWs) encompass a wide variety of specific roles and titles, but they generally represent a link between members of the community and existing health care resources. While their primary role may be linking vulnerable populations and the health care system, additional roles may include case management, translation and cultural competence support, advocacy, informal counseling and building community capacity. CHWs are effective, because they use preexisting networks to access populations that have traditionally had poor access to the health care system. The cultural capacity of these individuals allows them to deliver messages about available services in a well-received way.
This report reviews the concept of CHWs and offers information about the model’s efficacy.