Community health workers can help improve your health

GHHEditor July 12th

Did you know…Community health workers are a trusted health resource in New York City and beyond

The term “Community Health Worker” or “CHW” is a lot more common in Harlem these days. CHWs often work at clinics, or non-profit organizations that provide health services, or are part of research projects through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. If you meet a CHW it is important to know what they do and how they can help you. Basically, CHWs have four major roles that can help improve your health:

  1. Health Educators

CHWs are trained to understand major health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes.  They are also familiar with ways you can treat these conditions. Since they live or once lived in your local community, they are familiar with the resources there and the kinds of challenges the people living around them face. They are also able to work more closely with community members—spending more time explaining health issues in an easy-to-understand way. Unlike medical professionals, like a doctor or nurse, who have hectic schedules.

  1. Health Coaches

CHWs are similar to personal trainers. The difference is that personal trainers cost anywhere from $70-150 per hour. CHW services are free because they are either volunteers or are supported by the government to help improve public health. Also, like a health coach, CHWs recognize that everyone is different and needs a program that is right for them. 

  1. Health Advocates 

CHWs help people find the resources they need. For example, they can help you find a doctor if medical care is needed, places that offer insurance, or a cheap gym membership for those who want to lose weight or live healthier lives but may not have a lot of extra money in their budget.

  1. Health Mentors

A health mentor is someone who can guide people to a healthier way of living. CHWs want to get to know their clients. They can offer new paths to success. CHWs can help people succeed because they may have similar stories or experiences they can share with their clients.

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