Community Health Workers

If you provide services to clients under one of these titles, you are a Community Health Worker.
You are welcome here! 

The Anatomy of a Community Health Worker

Definition of a Community Health Worker

A CHW is 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. A community health worker 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 (APHA, 2000).

Roles and Core Competencies

Nationally, a successful CHW is proficient in:
  • Cultural mediation among individuals, communities, and health and social service systems
  • Providing coaching and social support
  • Providing culturally-appropriate health education and information
  • Care coordination, case management, and system navigation
  • Providing direct services
  • Building individual and community capacity
  • Advocating for individuals and communities
  • Implementing individual and community assessments
  • Conducting outreach
  • Participating in evaluation and research

Additionally, Indiana's CHWs are proficient in:

  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal and relationship-building skills
  • Service coordination and navigation skills
  • Capacity building skills
  • Advocacy skills
  • Education and facilitation skills
  • Individual and community assessment skills
  • Outreach skills
  • Professional skills and conduct
  • Evaluation and research skills
  • Knowledge base

Personal Qualities

CHWs embody the following qualities:

  • Connected to the community
  • Interpersonal warmth
  • Trustworthiness and mature
  • Open-mindedness
  • Objectivity
  • Competence
  • Commitment to social justice
  • Good psychological health
  • Self-awareness and understanding

Indiana's Community Health Workers

Benefits of having a CHW on your care team:

Advance Quality


Community health workers (CHWs) help reduce educational, cultural, and language barriers between patients and healthcare providers.

Reduce Cost


Community health workers (CHWs) help patients prevent costly medical expenses by supporting self-management and coaching patients in disease prevention.

Improve Care


Community health workers (CHWs) help patients adhere to provider recommendations by connecting them to community-based resources.