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A Community Health Worker (CHW) 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 CHW 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 CHW 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.
- American Public Health Association
CHWs enable patients to adhere to provider recommendations by connecting patients to community-based resources. The literature points to CHWs as having a significant impact on:
Social support is an indicator of health outcomes. Community health workers provide social support and greatly enhance personal and community health.
Common titles used to describe CHWs include but are not limited to - Abuse Counselor, Access Worker, Adult Case Manager, Assistor, Case Coordinator, Certified Recovery Specialist, Community Coordinator, Community Counselor, Community Health Advisor, Community Health Coach, Community Health Educator, Care Transition Coordinator, Community Health Representative, Community Liaison, Community Organizer, Community Outreach Manager, Community Outreach Worker, Community Social Worker, Discharge Planner, Educator, Family Advocate, Family Education Coordinator, Family Support Worker, Financial Counselor, Health Advisor, Health Advocate, Health Agent, Health Assistant, Health Broker, Health Communicator, Health Educator, Health Insurance Counselor, HIV Peer Advocate, HIV Prevention Coordinator, Home Care Worker, Home Visitor, Home-Based Clinician, Intake Specialist, Interpreter, Lay Health Worker/Advisor, Maternal and Child Health Case Manager, Medical Representative, Mental Health Worker, Navigator, Nutrition Educator, Outreach Advocate, Outreach Case Manager, Outreach Coordinator, Outreach Educator, Outreach Worker, Parent Aide, Parent Liaison, Patient Navigator, Peer Advocate, Peer Leader, Promotor(a), Promotor(a) de Salud, Roving Listener, Street Outreach Worker, Youth Development Specialist, Youth Worker.
Models of Care Include:
US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Standard Occupational Classification
Assist individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Conduct outreach for medical personnel or health organizations to implement programs in the community that promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health. May provide information on available resources, provide social support and informal counseling, advocate for individuals and community health needs, and provide services such as first aid and blood pressure screening. May collect data to help identify community health needs. Excludes "Health Educators" (21-1091)
Leveraging CHWs is one of many evidence-based practices known to improve population health. Indeed, the National Prevention Strategy, Institute of Medicine, U.S. Health and Human Services and others recommend integrating CHWs into the health care delivery system.
Evidence to support the role of CHWs continues to grow. Our annotated bibliographies (below) help to understand the nature and impact of their work.
ISDH is deeply committed to supporting the role of CHWs as a means of advancing care, reducing costs, and improving community health. The monthly INCHW Stakeholder meeting is aimed toward fully integrating CHWs in the primary care public health infrastructure. The meetings support the newly formed Indiana Community Health Worker Association by:
Establishing a scope of practice,
Hosting an annual symposium;and
Advancing System level integration.
Success in developing a sustainable system with CHWs is a direct result of our partners from all sectors of the community including CHWs and public and private entities.
Our current partners include:
American Health Network, Inc., Area Five Agency on Aging, ASPIN, Community Resources, LLC, Dia de la Mujer Latina, Inc., Esperanza Ministries, Goodwill Industries, Health Care Excel, Head Start, HealthLinc, Inc., HealthVisions Midwest, Indiana Academy of Family Physicians, Indiana Cancer Consortium, Indiana Health Care Association, Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Indiana Primary Health Care Association, Indiana State Medical Association, Indiana University Department of Public Health, Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Indiana University School of Medicine, IU Health, IU Health - Bloomington, Ivy Tech State College, Little Red Door Cancer Agency, Marion County Health Department, Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Mental Health America of Indiana, Northwest Indiana Area Health Education Center - Purdue University Calument - Acadmenic Learning Center, Office of the Center of Wellness for Urban Women, Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County, Purdue University - Affecting Cancer Together, Purdue University -Department of Consumer Sciences and Retailing - College of Health and Human Sciences, St. Vincent Hospital, Susan B. Komen, United HealthCare of Texas, University of Notre Dame - Institute for Latino Studies, Weiss Communications, Windrose Health Center, Wishard Hospital,
Indiana State Department of Health
Cardiovascular Health and Diabetes Section, Children's Special Health Care Services, Chronic Respiratory Disease Section, Comprehensive Cancer and Control, Division of HIV and STDs, Maternal and Child Health, Office of Minority Health, Office of Primary Care, Office of Women's Health, Office of Refugee Health
Community Health Worker Stakeholder meeting is held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. For details, please email JMccarthy-Jean@isdh.in.gov or call 317-234-2864.
Also, "Like" the INCHWA at www.facebook.com/IndianaCHW
** SAVE THE DATE **
2013 Community Health Worker's Symposium
When: September 5, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.
Where: Indiana Government Center
402 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Registration information coming soon!
For more information call 317-234-2864 or JMccarthy-Jean@isdh.in.gov
2012 CHW'S Symposium Presentations
On Monday, Oct. 15th, ISDH and the Indiana Community Health Worker Coalition hosted a state-wide CHW Symposium. The attached presentations were given during the symposium. We hope they are as informative to you as they were for those able to attend in person.
Carl Rush, M.R.P. is one of the leading academics in CHW policies and initiatives throughout the nation. Mr. Rush presented on the national landscape related to current policies that encourage CHWs. He also touched on several studies that have shown a return on investment for creating CHW initiatives. View Carl Rush presentation.
Lee Rosenthal, Ph.D. has worked on CHW policy and legislation for more than 20 years. Dr. Rosenthal has worked with many states to help assess their CHW populations as a first step to integrating CHWs into their health care systems. Her presentation includes the results of Indiana's state-wide assessment. View Dr. Rosenthal's presentation.
Sherry Gray and Jane Clawson of St. Vincent run a highly successful CHW driven program to address pre-natal and infant care in the Pathways model. This presentation outlines the program and successes they have seen as a result. View presentation.
Bruce VanDusen of the Division of Mental Health and Addictions and Martha Levey of ASPIN have created a billable peer-support program for those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse issues. To learn more about this program and how these organizations have bridged the gap between primary and behavioral health care, view their presentation.
Windrose Health Network, Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County, and Esperanza Ministries have formed a unique model working together to address the health disparities in Johnson County. View the presentation to learn more about each organization's contribution and the use of CHWs to address their need.
The Marion County Health Department has a well-developed and long-standing asthma education program that uses CHWs. View MCHD presentation.
Health Visions Midwest has been working in the East Chicago region for years and has used CHWs in many initiatives to great effect. View HVMW presentation.
National CHW Resources
CDC "Promoting Policyand Systems to Expand Employment of CHWs" - 6 session e-learning flyer Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTTAC) "CHWs: Policy and Systems Strategies for Improving the Prevention and Management of Chronic Diseases Among Disparate Populations" - 6 webinar modules & handouts American Association of Community Health Worker (contact: Durrell Fox, email@example.com or Pam Chapman, firstname.lastname@example.org, Co-chairs CHW National Education Collaborative American Public Health Association, CHW Section
For assistance, please call 317-234-2864 or email JMccarthy-Jean@isdh.in.gov.