Community Health Workers (CHW) are trusted members of the community with a passion for helping others prevent or manage disease or other physical/behavioral health issues. Studies have shown that CHWs have a positive impact on patients’ keeping appointments, taking their medications, and reducing risk by improving access to primary care and preventative services, and by helping individuals manage chronic conditions. While some CHWs may have minimal formal training in medicine or health, they tend to have an intimate knowledge of their communities and local resources. They use that knowledge and passion to help individuals overcome barriers to care such as those associated with language, culture, transportation, scheduling and finances.
The Eastcentral PA Area Health Education Center (AHEC) offers a 100 hour training program designed to provide the core competencies needed for work in community-based and inpatient settings. Also, the training provides comprehensive information about accessing healthcare and other social/community resources which are specific to the particular area where the training takes place.