Content Type

Topic Categories

Date Range

Infographics

Community Health Workers: Their Important Role in Public Health

Published on: April 07, 2021. Updated on: April 13, 2021.


This infographic shows how Community Health Workers (CHWs) promote health equity and improve public health. The CHW workforce is diverse, growing, and drawing attention to its ability to address determinants of poor health. As trusted advocates, educators and counselors embedded in their communities, CHWs facilitate culturally competent service delivery. Tapping into this workforce can strengthen the response to COVID-19 and address longstanding inequities.

This infographic was reviewed by Denise Octavia Smith, MBA, CHW, PN, Founding Executive Director of the National Association of Community Health Workers.

Citations
Show Details Hide Details

Community health workers definitions: “Community Health Workers.” American Public Health Association.

CHWs’ many titles: “CDC - Community Health Worker Resources - STLT Gateway.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Aug. 2016.

Not defined by training: Opinion by Kangovi, Shreya, et al. “Opinion: This Group of Workers Could Help Turnaround Quality of Life -- and the Economy.” CNN, 10 Feb. 2021.

Advance health equity, improve health outcomes, and reduce health care costs: “Community Health Workers: Evidence of Their Effectiveness.” Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the National Association of Community Health Workers.

Addressing social determinants of health: Peretz, Patricia J., et al. “Community Health Workers and Covid-19 - Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Times of Crisis and Beyond: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 10 Mar. 2021.

Root causes of poor health: Opinion by Kangovi, Shreya, et al. “Opinion: This Group of Workers Could Help Turnaround Quality of Life -- and the Economy.” CNN, 10 Feb. 2021.

Examples of services CHWs provide:

86,000 CHWs: "Community Health Worker National Workforce Study." U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Bureau of Health Professions. March 2007.

Expected increase: “Health Educators and Community Health Workers: Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 Sept. 2020.

Call for rapid increase: NACHW National Policy Platform: Policy Recommendations to Respect, Protect and Partner with Community Health Workers During the Pandemic and Beyond.

President Biden’s proposal: “President Biden Announces American Rescue Plan.” The White House, The United States Government, 20 Jan. 2021.

American Rescue Plan: Yarmuth, John A. “H.R.1319 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.” Congress.gov, 11 Mar. 2021,

Partners in Health: “Public Health Job Corps: Responding to COVID-19, rebuilding the community health workforce.” Partners in Health United States. Updated 22 Jan. 2021.

CHWs sharing characteristics with community members: “Role of Community Health Workers.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

CHW race and ethnicity: National Community Health Worker Advocacy Survey: 2014 Preliminary Data Report for the United States and Territories. Tucson, Arizona: Arizona Prevention Research Center, Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona; 2014.

Bilingual: “Community Health Workers in the Midwest: Understanding and developing the workforce” Wilder Research, June 2012.

CHW Employers: “Health Educators and Community Health Workers: Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 Sept. 2020.

Shift CHW employment: Malcarney MB, Pittman P, Quigley L, Horton K, Seiler N. The Changing Roles of Community Health Workers. Health Serv Res. 2017;52 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):360-382. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12657

Evidence of CHWs Effectiveness: “Community Health Workers: Evidence of Their Effectiveness.” Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the National Association of Community Health Workers.

  • $2.47:1 return on investment: Kangovi, Shreya, et al. “Evidence-Based Community Health Worker Program Addresses Unmet Social Needs And Generates Positive Return On Investment: Health Affairs Journal.” Health Affairs, 1 Feb. 2020.
  • 34% decrease in days in hospitals: Vasan, A, Morgan, JW, Mitra, N, et al. Effects of a standardized community health worker intervention on hospitalization among disadvantaged patients with multiple chronic conditions: A pooled analysis of three clinical trials. Health Serv Res. 2020; 55: 894– 901.
  • Improve Glycemic Control: Palmas W, March D, Darakjy S, Findley SE, Teresi J, Carrasquillo O, Luchsinger JA. Community Health Worker Interventions to Improve Glycemic Control in People with Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Jul;30(7):1004-12.
  • Mental Health: Weaver A, Lapidos A. Mental Health Interventions with Community Health Workers in the United States: A Systematic Review. J Health Care Poor Underserved.

Role of CHWs in COVID-19 response:

  • Advocate for vaccinations: “Joint Statement on Ensuring Racial Equity in the Development and Distribution of a COVID-19 Vaccine.” Health Leads, 26 Jan. 2021.
  • Trusted messengers: “To Strengthen The Public Health Response To COVID-19, We Need Community Health Workers, " Health Affairs Blog, May 6, 2020.
  • Build Capacity: Advancing Equity & Public Health: The Community-Based Workforce Alliance.
  • Address social needs and ensure care: Peretz, Patricia J., et al. “Community Health Workers and Covid-19 - Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Times of Crisis and Beyond: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 10 Mar. 2021.

Recommendations and strategies for supporting this workforce:

  • Combat compassion fatigue: “Battling Burnout: Self-Care and Organizational Tools to Increase Community Health Worker Retention and Satisfaction.” Health Leads, 23 Jan. 2020.
  • More research is needed: Peretz, Patricia J., et al. “Community Health Workers and Covid-19 - Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Times of Crisis and Beyond: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 10 Mar. 2021.

More Related Articles