Community Health Worker (CHW)

The fundamental role of Community Health Workers (CHWs) is to help forge effective connections between providers and underserved populations in need of care.  CHWs are lay members of communities who share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and/or life experiences with the community members they serve. CHW titles include community health advisors, lay health advocates, promotores(as), outreach educators, community health representatives, peer health promoters, and peer health educators.

Beginning in the 1950s, CHWs began to be part of deliberate strategies for increasing access and delivering cost-effective and culturally sensitive care to the underserved.  CHWs have been employed in many sectors of social and health services delivery programs.

CHW Functions

  • Provide informal interpretation and translation services
  • Deliver culturally-appropriate health education and information
  • Connect people to health care services
  • Give informal counseling and guidance on health behaviors
  • Advocate for individual and community health needs
  • Provide limited direct services (e.g. first aid and blood pressure screening)

I-LEAD CHW Program


  • Engage community members as health access and information workers to provide public education and outreach around key health challenges
  • Connect residents with available services
  • Bridge the cultural divide between communities and health care institutions and providers that inhibits access to care
  • Provide onramp to careers in Allied Health

Services Provided

  • Employer relations
  • Alignment of training curriculum(s) with industry needs
  • Recruitment, assessment and training of students
  • I-LEAD signature Leadership Development Training modules ( personal effectiveness, interpersonal communications, team building, cultural competency)
  • Entry level knowledge and skills training  in targeted health arena (based on best practices and in consultation with industry and service experts)