Community Health Worker Integration in Health Care, Public Health, and Policy
Health care systems and public health agencies are focusing increased attention on the capacity of community health workers (CHWs) to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations and to support integration of clinical and community prevention services. This article describes 3 initiatives in Massachusetts in which the state public health department has collaborated with CHW leaders, health providers, and community-based partners to develop innovative policy and services, including state certification of CHWs, integrated chronic disease programs, and a state-funded pilot program to demonstrate return on investment for community-based prevention. Concluding lessons are relevant for implementation of health care reform nation-wide.
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