According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Community Health Workers (CHWs) are public health workers who apply their unique understanding of the experience, language and/or culture of the populations they serve in order to carry out one or more of the following roles:
Providing culturally appropriate health education, information and outreach in community-based settings, such as homes, schools, clinics, shelters, local businesses, and community centers;
Bridging/culturally mediating between individuals, communities and health and human services, including actively building individual and community capacity;
Assuring that people access the services they need;
Providing direct services, such as informal counseling, social support, care coordination and health screenings; and
Advocating for individual and community needs.
The Outreach Worker Training Institute of the Center for Health Impact is a career-focused, college-supported educational pipeline for CHWs as well as their supervisors.