Video Spotlight

"'I'm a Health Worker' - Abduaraman Gidi" made by IntraHealth International.

Melissa Gutierrez Kapheim and Jamie Campbell

There is a growing movement among health care organizations to adopt the Community Health Worker (CHW) model into their system as a way to provide comprehensive care to patients and community members. At the same time there is uncertainty about how to implement the CHW model to achieve better patient outcomes, higher quality of care, and lower health care costs. With generous funding from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) in Chicago, IL embarked on a two-year project (2011-2013) to create the Community Health Worker Best Practice Guidelines with the aim of addressing the gaps in knowledge about how to effectively implement the CHW model. The Community Health Worker (CHW) Best Practice Guidelines are intended to be a blueprint for health care organizations interested in implementing the CHW model. These practice guidelines were developed to address gaps in the CHW professional literature and assist health care administrators, public health professionals, health care providers, CHWs, and communities in designing and implementing CHW interventions grounded in evidence-based science.

The report offers recommendations on implementing the CHW model in five subject areas: 1. CHW hiring; 2. CHW training; 3. CHW supervision; 4. CHW integration into the health care system; and 5. Evaluating CHW programs. To our knowledge this is the largest comprehensive review of the CHW literature, survey data, and practice-based CHW knowledge available.  It is our intention that this report fills gaps in the knowledge base and assist organizations in the implementation of the CHW model, ultimately improving the health of communities right here in Chicago and even nationally.

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