Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



The role of the Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the health care system has great value both domestically and internationally. CHWs have training in healthcare; they are members of the community in which they serve. They have in depth understanding of the barriers to health care the community faces; they can speak the same language, and can promote and improve health status, quality of care and assist managing chronic disease. This paper focuses on the role and documented effectiveness of CHWs in terms of quality, health care services, cost health services, as well as health behaviors and knowledge about the health care system among underserved populations. Sixty-five peer reviewed articles and publication were analyzed and compiled data for this study. The majority of studies indicate that CHW programs can improve access to health care, outreach and enrollment into public benefits, increase culturally competent health education, and reduce the cost of using the health care system. In addition, CHWs help patient overcome obstacles to health care, assist in managing of chronic disease by providing culturally appropriate health education, ongoing social support, home visits and follow up which improve the management of chronic disease among racial and ethnic minority populations. In conclusion, CHWs improve and positively impact underserved communities and assist minority populations overcome barriers to health care, improve self-care of chronic disease and reduce overall health care costs.