- limited adoption of the model by formal health care and public health entities, and
- lack of formal training programs and educational resources for CHWs.
A community health worker (CHW) is a frontline health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has a unique understanding of the community that they serve. In the evolving sphere of community or population health and the pursuit of the triple aim (Better Health Care, Better Health, and Reduced Cost), community health workers play a vital role. CHWs reflect the values and culture of the community they work within, making them especially adept at providing culturally relevant services. They develop peer-to-peer relationships of trust, rather than provider-patient relationships. It is these relationships, rather than clinical expertise, that allow CHWs to communicate openly with people on issues related to health and ultimately to improve health care access and outcomes for those people. Historically, two of the main challenges for this workforce to date in the bi-state region surrounding Kansas City are