HomeLatest NewsQuality NewsWhat is a Community Health Worker?

What is a Community Health Worker?

A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. 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 CHW scope of work in South Dakota includes health system navigation and resource coordination, health promotion and coaching, and health education to teach or promote methods and measures that have been proven effective in avoiding illness and/or lessening its effects.

The South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion launched the Community Health Worker Collaborative of South Dakota (CHWSD) in January of 2020 to support awareness and workforce developments for the CHW profession in South Dakota. Learn more about the CHWSD by visiting www.chwsd.org.

Organizations in South Dakota can apply for funding to assist with the start-up of a CHW program. This funding can help CHW programs secure initial funding but may not be a long-term solution. Once a CHW program is established and can be used to calculate a return on investment (ROI), an organization could use additional funding to sustain their program in the long term. As of 2019, South Dakota Medicaid has added CHWs to the list of services that a Medicaid recipient may be eligible for. To learn more about Medicaid reimbursement visit https://chwsd.org/reimbursement.

The CHWSD has developed a CHW Planning Assessment Toolkit that is intended to provide background knowledge, resources, tips, and recommendations for hiring and utilizing a CHW. This is ideal for managers and decision-makers who are interested in implementing a CHW at their organization. The toolkit also includes 2 FREE CEUs for those who complete the toolkit. CEUs are available for a variety of disciplines including medical, nursing, social work, and dental. To view and complete the toolkit, visit https://chwsd.org/chw-toolkits.

The Community Health Worker Collaborative is excited to host the first annual Community Health Worker Conference in Sioux Falls, SD on Thursday, April 28th, 2022. There is no cost to attend the conference. Learn more about the conference, view the conference agenda, and learn more about the conference presenters, visit https://chwsd.org/annual-conference.

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