A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables a CHW to serve as a liaison to, link to, or intermediary between health and social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. A CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self‐sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, the provision of information to support individuals in the community, social support, and advocacy.
Community health workers go by many titles, depending on where they work, who they work for, and what they do. Common titles include Promotores(as) de Salud, Health Coach, Community Health Advisor, Community Health Coach, Lay Health Advocate, Family Advocate, Community Health Care Worker, Health Educator, Liaison, Promoter, Outreach Worker, Peer Counselor, Patient Navigator, Health Interpreter, Public Health Aide, Community Health Representative, Outreach Specialist, and more.
Maryland's CHW Core Competencies:
1. Advocacy and community capacity building skills
2. Effective oral and written communication skills
3. Cultural competency
4. Understanding of ethics and confidentiality issues
5. Knowledge of local resources and system navigation
6. Care coordination support skills
7. Teaching skills to promote healthy behavior change
8. Outreach methods and strategies
9. Understanding of public health concepts and health literacy
Maryland CHW Statute and Regulations
Supporting regulations were adopted in 2019:
guide the processes to certifiy community health workers.
guide the processes to accredit CHW certification training programs.
Contact the CHW Team at MDH.CHWApplications@maryland.gov or 410-767-5971.