What is a Community Health Worker?

The American Public Health Association (APHA) defines a CHW as “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. The 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.”

Within Montana, this definition encompasses a number of position titles other than Community Health Worker, such as: Community Health Representative, Patient Navigator, Care Coordinator, Outreach Coordinator, Community Advocates, Case Managers, Community Resource Specialist, to name a few.