A Literature Review: How Can the Community Health Worker Impact Public Health?

Location: St. Joseph County, Indiana, U.S.A.

Alumni: Danielle LaFleur

Faculty: Heidi Beidinger

The purpose of this literature review is to examine to possible impact community heath works can have on public health issues. The CHW has emerged as one of the most effective strategies to address human resources for health shortages while improving access to and quality of primary healthcare. These individuals generally work with the underserved and are indigenous to the community in which they work-ethnically, linguistically, socioeconomically, and experientially. CHWs are the frontline public health workers who serve as trusted bridged between the community members and health care providers. Among their varied roles, CHWs can educate and support patients in managing their risk factors and diseases and link these patients to needed resources. Implementation of CHWs helps patient medication adherence, increased patient involvement, and reduced health care costs. By implementing CHWs directed toward issues of lead exposure in St. Joseph County, communities can become more aware, educated, and healthier about this hazardous health risk. Examination of the literature can increase the basis of knowledge for CHW program sustainability for community organizations striving to reduce public health problems.

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