As team-based care becomes more common in medical practice, healthcare organizations are considering how they invest in non-clinician personnel, like recruiting and hiring community health workers.
A community health worker is “a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served,” according to the American Public Health Association (APHA). “This trusting relationship enables the worker to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.”
The role of the community health worker has become more prominent in recent years, as more healthcare organizations recognize the impact social determinants of health can have on patient wellness. As a result, some clinics and hospitals have recruited and hired community health workers to help patients navigate the social services that can address those SDOH, improve overall health, and improve quality of life.
But although the community health worker profession is gaining recognition, the recruitment and hiring process isn’t always clear, especially for organizations hiring their first community health worker staff.