A Community Health Worker (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 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 CHW Section, 2009)
Additionally, CHWs have a variety of titles. Other names for a CHW include lay health adviser, Promotore(a), patient advocate, peer support specialist, community outreach worker and maternal child health worker, to name a few.