CHW Roles and Functions

< Back Next >
A woman holding her newborn baby and an older woman talking to her.

The roles and functions of CHWs are as follows:

  • Cultural mediation between communities and health and human services system
  • Culturally appropriate health education and information
  • Ensuring people get the services they need
  • Informal counseling and social support
  • Advocating for individual, community needs
  • Providing direct services, mainly in remote areas, and meeting basic needs
  • Building individual and community capacity

[SPEAKER]

The 1998 National Community Health Advisor Study, referenced earlier, is no longer in print, but the executive summary is available at the Web address shown on this slide. The study was the first systematic attempt to delineate CHW roles and functions, which it defined as:

  • Cultural mediation between communities and the health and human services system
  • Providing culturally appropriate health education and information
  • Ensuring that people get the services they need
  • Informal counseling and social support
  • Advocating for individual and community needs
  • Providing direct services, mainly in remote areas, and meeting basic needs
  • Building individual and community capacity

Note the overlap of these roles and functions with those found in the definition reviewed a moment ago. You can see how this list of functions has influenced such definitions.