​Community Health Worker Initiative

Community health workers (CHWs) are professional members of the interdisciplinary health care team that reflect the culture, values and experiences of the community served. Their positive attributes foster mutual trust and transparency on health-related issues that improve health care access and population health outcomes. The Mecklenburg County CHW Initiative works across organizations to align CHW programming through an assembly of partners that serve to improve communities countywide.

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

  • Care Coordinator

  • Peer Advocate/Leader

  • Patient Navigator

  • Outreach Navigator

  • Neighborhood Health Advocate

  • Family Support Worker

  • Community Connector

CHW Professional Roles

Community Health Worker roles include…

  • Cultural Mediation

  • Health Education and Information

  • Service Coordination and Navigation

  • Coaching and Social Support

  • Advocacy

  • Individual and Community Capacity

  • Direct Service

  • Individual and Community Assessments

  • Outreach

  • Evaluation and Research

How did the 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:

  1. Leading and Coordinating Collaborative Groups 

  2. Facilitating and Coordinating Trainings and Technical Assistance 

  3. Participating in Policy Development and System Change Management 

  4. Implementing and Directing Programs and Strategies using the CHW Model (Internal Service Only)

Get Involved

  • CHW Stakeholder Advisory Collaborative

    A diverse group of colleagues meeting at a work table

    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 contact [email protected]

  • Queen City Community Connect Coalition

    Queen City Community Connect Coalition logo

    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 Guided Journey: Support For New And Expecting Mothers

    A Guided Journey Logo Header

    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

    Service Location:

    Care Ring

    ​601 E. 5th Street, Charlotte, NC, 28202

    For more information or if you are interested in participating, contact ​Sherresa Falls, M.S., R.N., Director of Maternal Child Health.


  • CHW Initiative Reports

    Photo of person examining financial reports

    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.

    The Community Health Worker Initiative Preliminary Report

    CHWI Evaluation Plan Snapshot

    CHWI FY23 Progress Report Snapshot

Additional Resources

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 Resource Center

These resources will help you learn more about community health workers and their impact on a national, state, and local level.