The Role of Community Health Workers

Community health workers contribute to development and can help communities improve access to health services.

They are also the backbone for empowering communities.

Community health workers are the most promising way to deliver health services in resource-limited settings.

What Community Health Workers Do

Community Health Workers (CHWs) generally share race, language, socioeconomic status and life experiences with members of the communities they serve.

In this way, they provide them with culturally appropriate interpretation and translation services, education and health information.

They also help people obtain needed care, counseling and guidance, and advocate for individual and community health needs.

How they help the community

These types of roles are crucial in the community to:

  • Improve access to health services.
  • Increase communication between community members and health providers.
  • Increased use of health services.
  • Help families understand the risks of developing diseases.
  • Help community members obtain appropriate screening tests and referrals for health and social services.
  • Tracking an individual’s progress toward meeting health goals.

Boston Whittier Street Health Center Case Study

The Whittier Street Health Center in Boston provides primary care and supportive services primarily to low-income, racially and ethnically diverse populations in the Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and South End neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts.

Initially specializing in women’s health, it now has more than 40 different programs.

These programs include vision health, dentistry, physical therapy, and specialized clinics focused on chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and HIV.

What Whittier Street Health Center has accomplished

The center (WSHC) was a winner in Whittier’s Building Vibrant Communities Program.

This program is a partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, in which health coordinators connect public housing residents with medical care and community services.

The Whittier Street Health Center opened a satellite pharmacy on North Dorchester and a satellite clinic on Blue Hill Avenue, staffed by two full-time physicians.

This is due to the travel difficulties experienced by some communities.

How the satellite pharmacy works

At this satellite pharmacy they provide both scheduled appointments and walk-in services.

They also have a mobile health van to provide services to the homeless and community residents.

In this way, they have been able to address the high rates of sexually transmitted infections in Roxbury and surrounding neighborhoods, especially in the “hot spots” of the cities.

Community Health Workers Recognized

Frederica M. Williams, president and CEO of Whittier Street Health Care Center (Whittier), has been recognized for her commitment to the community.

Whittier Street Health Care Center has consolidated the Center for Health Equity Research to facilitate improvements in health care delivery and health outcomes.

This is in order to eliminate health disparities by focusing on issues affecting racial equity and exploring solutions to address racial barriers that are linked to the ability to achieve health equity.

What services does Whittier Street Health Center offer?

Whittier offers primary care programs in:

  • Adult Medicine,
  • Family Medicine,
  • Pediatrics,
  • Dentistry/orthodontics,
  • Health Benefits,
  • Laboratory,
  • Obstetrics and gynecology,
  • Orthopedics,
  • Radiology,
  • Urgent care,
  • Health and fitness club,
  • WIC.

The health center also offers a variety of public health programs, such as the Dana-Farber Community Cancer Center.

Health providers offering their services at My Health Fair have bilingual staff to address concerns and access to programs targeted to Latino communities.

Contact them for more information about health resources and services!

My Health Fair is celebrating National Health Center Week August 7-13, 2022.

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