Community Health Workers help Idahoans get access to care

September 12, 2023
Jackie Amende Lewis, Division of Public Health

Navigating the complexities of the health care system can be a challenge, but organizations throughout Idaho are turning to staff called Community Health Workers to add value to their organizations and the communities they serve.

Community Health Workers are frontline public health workers with the goal of connecting people with their health care systems. They promote trust and build relationships in their communities to expand access to care.

The Division of Public Health at DHW recently published two new videos to help illustrate the value Community Health Workers add to the organizations that employ them and the communities they serve, and to encourage more organizations to consider implementing Community Health Worker programs.

Titled “The Value of Community Health Workers,” the videos showcase the vital contributions these workers make in their organizations and communities.

“The doctor can sit there and talk to you for 15 minutes, but I’ve got a Community Health Worker who can go out and talk to you for an hour,” Robin Mangan from Lost River Medical Center points out in one of the videos. (View the videos: Video A, Video B.)

A growing body of research shows that a Community Health Worker program can:

  • Help people with or at risk for chronic health conditions
  • Improve health outcomes and access
  • Promote better patient experience with a relationship-building approach
  • Decrease overall costs through a reduction in emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and missed healthcare appointments

Visit DHW’s Community Health Worker employer webpage to find Idaho-specific reports on Community Health Workers, national resources to help start a Community Health Worker program in your organization, and information about Community Health Worker training in Idaho.

Jackie Amende Lewis is a Health Program Specialist with the Chronic Disease Section in the Division of Public Health.

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