Community Health Workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of and/or have an unusually close understanding of the community they serve.  This trusting relationship enables CHWs 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.  CHWs also build 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, 2008)

The Community Health Worker Network of NYC, through its Executive Director who served as the Chair of the Community Health Worker Section of the American Public Health Association at the time, led the national coalition that developed this national definition.

Along with the importance of developing a definition to describe the work of CHWs, a discrete scope of practice, outlining specific roles and tasks, is also essential. Based on existing evidence and original research conducted by the Network and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and informed by CHWs and their employers, the New York State CHW Scope of Practice was created. 

Doctor Child

Related Documents

CHW Scope of PracticePdf