Major Issues within the Field

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CHWs teaching a class, and talking to community members.Before embarking on policy initiatives, we need to become familiar with the culture and complexities of the CHW workforce.

Major issues within the CHW field include:

  • Boundaries with other occupations
  • Preserving community trust and credibility
    • Community goals vs. the employer’s goals
    • Professionalization and credentialing
    • “Community membership” as essential qualification; what is a “peer?”
  • Potential barriers to entry into the profession
  • Is CHW employment a “pathway” or a career?
  • Self-determination

[SPEAKER]

Before embarking on policy initiatives, we need to become familiar with the culture and complexities of the CHW workforce, including forces other than “silo” funding that challenge efforts to bring the field together. We will discuss each of these in turn:

  • Boundaries with other occupations
  • The theme of preserving community trust and credibility, which includes a number of issues, including:
    • Potential differences in the CHW’s mind between community priorities and the employer’s immediate goals
    • Professionalization and credentialing of CHWs
    • The dilemma of “community membership” as an essential qualification
    • The definitions of “peer-ness” and “community”
  • Potential barriers to entry into the profession
  • The question of whether CHW employment is a “pathway” or a career; we mention this as an issue now, but we will actually discuss in depth in Session 3 under Workforce Development
  • Self-determination for CHWs as an occupation