Community Health Workers in the United States: Challenges in Identifying, Surveying, and Supporting the Workforce

Authors: Sabo S, Allen C, Sutkowi K, Wennerstrom A
Year: 2017
State: NatDoc: National Document
Website link:
Publicly Available: Yes
Certification: CHW role scope of practice, Continuing education, General other
Evidence Generation: Documentation of how CHWs can work within care teams, Surveys and assessment tools to define and develop workforce
Policy: Lessons learned from other states
Sustainable Financing: Surveys and assessment tools to define and develop workforce
Workforce Development: CHW training programs (not cert.), Data sharing between social services and clinical teams, General other (including mention of “employment practices”), Outreach campaigns to identify CHWs, Recruiting and convening CHWs stakeholders, Training- Content modes delivery, Training- Continuing education

Community health workers (CHWs) are members of a growing profession in the United States. Studying this dynamic labor force is challenging, in part because its members have more than 100 different job titles. The demand for timely, accurate information about CHWs is increasing as the profession gains recognition for its ability to improve health outcomes and reduce costs. Although numerous surveys of CHWs have been conducted, the field lacks well-delineated methods for gaining access to this hard-to-identify workforce. We outline methods for surveying CHWs and promising approaches to engage the workforce and other stakeholders in conducting local, state, and national studies. We also highlight successful strategies to overcome challenges in CHW surveys and future directions for surveying the field.

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