A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has a close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison 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, 2013).
The mission of the community health work profession is rooted in a set of core roles, core values and a specific code of ethics that drive their scope of work and practice within a community. These core roles, core values and code of ethics, embraced by CHWs throughout the profession’s history, are the foundation of community health work’s unique purpose and perspective.