A community health worker is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the worker to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.
A community health worker also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.
Kansas Community Health Workers (CHW) utilize core competencies that aid in connecting individuals to the information and services needed for optimal, individualized health outcomes. Core competencies support the CHW in performing appropriately within different models of practice as determined by employers. The following Scope of Practice encompasses the roles and responsibilities CHWs may have based upon existing practice models being utilized by multi-disciplinary employers:
Client Support: Provide encouragement and social support to assist clients with goal setting and barrier identification within professional boundaries.
Care Coordination: Assist in coordinating care by linking people to appropriate information and services.
Healthcare Liaison: Serve as a culturally-informed liaison between clients, community and healthcare systems.
Health Education: Provide culturally appropriate health education to individuals, organizations and/or communities, in an effort to reduce modifiable risk factors and encourage healthy behaviors.
Advocacy: Recognize gaps and advocate for individual and community health needs.
Special thank you to HealthICT for creating this video for Kansas CHWs!