What is a Community Health Worker?
A community health worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an intimate understanding of the community served. This relationship enables the CHW to serve as the bridge or link between health and social services to facilitate better access to care by improving the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.
For more information about the definition of a CHW, please visit the American Public Health Association Website.
Who is considered a CHW?
The Community Health Worker title is an umbrella term that includes a range of titles such as...
Community Health Representative
Promotora De Salud
Neighborhood Health Advocate
Family Support Worker
CHW Professional Roles
Community Health Worker roles include…
Health Education and Information
Service Coordination and Navigation
Coaching and Social Support
Individual and Community Capacity
Individual and Community Assessments
Evaluation and Research
How did the Mecklenburg County CHW Initiative Begin?
Community health workers have received national recognition for reducing health disparities in underserved and minority communities across the United States. Recently, CHWs have played a vital role on health and social care teams while combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Their role and rapid response highlight the many ways CHWs help serve our communities as it relates to addressing high priority public health issues and health care needs of the Charlotte-Metro community. As a result, the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department established the CHW Initiative to better align all community health worker initiatives in Mecklenburg County through the assembly of community stakeholders that are deeply invested in the CHW profession.
Mecklenburg County’s Community Health Worker Initiative (CHWI) envisions to create a sustainable infrastructure that supports and values CHWs in Mecklenburg County. It works internally and externally to support CHW programming by:
Leading and Coordinating Collaborative Groups
Facilitating and Coordinating Trainings and Technical Assistance
Participating in Policy Development and System Change Management
Implementing and Directing Programs and Strategies using the CHW Model (Internal Service Only)
Mecklenburg County Public Health Department serves as the backbone organization of the Mecklenburg County Community Health Worker Stakeholder Advisory Collaborative (SAC). The SAC is a collaborative effort driven by community partners and stakeholders in Mecklenburg County, whose mission is to strengthen the CHW workforce in an evidence-based manner through collaboration, education, and mentorship
If you are a key decision maker or facilitator of an organization that employs CHWs, has an established CHW program and/or are deeply invested in the CHW profession (by providing priority funding, education, and/or subspeciality trainings) in Mecklenburg County, please complete an interest form..
The Queen City (QC) Community Connect Coalition was established in 2022, with the purpose of supporting the work of the SAC and to unify CHWs across organizations in a collaborative forum by creating an environment that equips and empowers those to serve Mecklenburg County communities. For more information about the work of the Coalition or if you are interested in joining the effort, please contact [email protected].
The Coalition meets bimonthly on the first (1st) Tuesday of every other month. If you are a CHW, aspiring CHW, and/or CHW ally, please plan to join us and share this information! Visit the Coalition’s websitefor more information.
A healthy pregnancy is one of the many ways to promote healthy families. Early and regular prenatal and postpartum care is an important step in protecting the health of a mother and child. The program was launched in 2021 as part of Mecklenburg County’s priority funding to address health disparities. Using the Community Health Worker (CHW) model, the program will ensure women are linked to prenatal and postpartum care, and other supportive services as an effective strategy to improve perinatal health disparities and outcomes in Mecklenburg County.
- Must reside in Mecklenburg County
- Income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guideline
For more information or if you are interested in participating, contact Sherresa Falls, M.S., R.N., Director of Maternal Child Health.
Since 2022, the Mecklenburg County CHW Initiative has spearheaded many projects to strengthen the CHW workforce in an evidence-based manner.
Through the collective impact framework, the Initiative has embodied equity by partnering with CHWs, CHW organizations, and those deeply invested in the CHW profession to create essential documents that serve to increase the understanding and appreciation of CHWs in their respective agencies and communities.
Ultimately, these reports aim to align initiatives and programs in Mecklenburg County to improve organizational capacity by demonstrating impact of the CHW workforce.
Please note, the resources listed are not all-encompassing but rather a starting point to better understand the workforce and pioneer initiatives that center and value CHWs.
CHW Programming Toolkit
So, you want to start a Community Health Worker (CHW) program? Great! This toolkit will help you learn more about developing and implementing CHW programs in your organization.
CHW Resource Center
These resources will help you learn more about community health workers and their impact on a national, state, and local level.