Community Health Workers in the United States: Challenges in Identifying, Surveying, and Supporting the Workforce

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Community health workers (CHWs) are members of a growing profession in the United States. Studying this dynamic labor force is challenging, in part because its members have more than 100 different job titles.

The demand for timely, accurate information about CHWs is increasing as the profession gains recognition for its ability to improve health outcomes and reduce costs. Although numerous surveys of CHWs have been conducted, the field lacks well-delineated methods for gaining access to this hard-to-identify workforce.

We outline methods for surveying CHWs and promising approaches to engage the workforce and other stakeholders in conducting local, state, and national studies. We also highlight successful strategies to overcome challenges in CHW surveys and future directions for surveying the field.

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