The National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW) surveyed Community Health Workers across the nation and sector to understand their experiences with the unwinding of the COVID-19 public health emergency in the United States that began in May 11, 2023. Four-hundred eighty-six Community Health Workers (CHWs) completed the survey. CHWs is an umbrella term and includes community health representatives, promotores, peers and other workforce members who are frontline public health professionals that share life experience, trust, compassion, cultural and value alignment with the communities where they live and serve.
This infographic provides an aggregated snapshot of our findings and promotes a call to action for public and private institutions and allies to partner with and fund CHWs and their organizations to protect communities who experience social and health vulnerabilities, to strengthen the public health workforce.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a widespread lack of trust between people and the government agencies that are responsible for serving them. This distrust is particularly prevalent in marginalized communities, and governmental agencies, which illustrates the need for new ways of connecting with vulnerable community members. Community health workers’ (CHWs) effectiveness comes in large part from their trusted relationship with the community. The majority of CHWs are employed by community-based organizations (CBOs), which have years- or decades-long relationships and experience working in the community. Public health departments can leverage these trusted relationships by partnering and contracting with CBOs to hire CHWs and implement CHW programs.
This creates a mutually beneficial relationship where CBOs can offer strong community relationships, cultural competency, and expertise in program design and implementation, and health departments can offer CBOs greater financial sustainability and access to critical resources. By authentically partnering with and contracting with CBOs, health departments can help address inequities and structural racism often apparent in CBO funding. This toolkit serves as a resource for health department staff who are pursuing contracts with CBOs to implement CHW programs.
This toolkit, developed by the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW) in partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), will provide tips for hiring, training, and building CHW career pathways.
For further information on CHW hiring practices, refer to ASTHO’s “Hiring Practices that Support State Integration of Community Health Workers” paper.
As states advance efforts to expand financing for and use of this workforce, it will be critical to make an evidence-based business case for policymakers and providers. Existing studies on CHWs focus on assessing their effectiveness in improving health outcomes, reducing healthcare costs, and bridging the gap in health disparities. The number of research articles on the impact of CHW-led interventions and programs has escalated dramatically over the past fifty years, and the scientific rigor of study designs has improved notably.
Read more in the link above.
Access to nutritious and affordable food should be a human right – but it is not. COVID-19 resulted in more than 53 million people seeking food assistance in pantries and soup kitchens. Long before COVID-19 disrupted supply chains, closed restaurants, and placed grocery store, factory and farm workers at increased risk for infection, children and adults across the globe were going hungry.
Wars, famines, and natural disasters rightly command high profile responses for food and water delivery, but what about the hunger that is hidden in plain sight on every continent every day? Read more in the link above!
FoodFinder is a food pantry locator and 501(c)(3) nonprofit that shows you when and where to get free food assistance in your area. The map on the home page is a map of food pantries and school meal locations – every pin that appears is a food assistance program nearby. Try it out! https://foodfinder.us/
In addition, CHWs, healthcare workers, community organizers, and many others can make use of the below resources to spread awareness of FoodFinder and food insecurity.
Food Finder has graciously created a Google Survey Link for anyone who wants to request a free shipment of full-color, already-printed FoodFinder cards/flyers.
Want to spread the word about FoodFinder? Here is a Google Drive Link to all of FoodFinder’s digital info cards & flyers in 12+ languages.
You can also download FoodFinder on an IOS or Android: