1. Brownstein, J. Nell PhD
  2. Hirsch, Gail R. MEd
  3. Rosenthal, E. Lee PhD, MS, MPH
  4. Rush, Carl H. MRP


Today's ambulatory care providers face numerous challenges as they try to practice efficient, patient-centered medicine. This article explains how community health workers (CHWs) can be engaged to address many patient- and system-related barriers currently experienced in ambulatory care practices. Community health workers are frontline public health workers who serve as a trusted bridge between community members and health care providers. Among their varied roles, CHWs can educate and support patients in managing their risk factors and diseases and link these patients to needed resources. As shown in this overview (CHW 101), including CHWs as members of multidisciplinary care teams has the potential to strengthen both current and emerging models of health care delivery.