The South Carolina Community Health Worker Association (SCCHWA) is made up of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and supporters who are building a healthier South Carolina through the promotion of education, networking and advocacy for the community health worker profession. The association provides a forum for networking, sharing of strategies and resources, and provide a foundation for education of CHWs and the organizations and systems that support them.
- Align CHW training in South Carolina with nationally established core competencies, including standardizing the experiential learning component of CHW curriculum.
- Promote uniform standards and requirements for the training, certification, and continuing education of CHWs and CHW Instructors in South Carolina.
- Educate those working in the health and social service sectors about the role, scope of services, evidence of success, and best practices related to CHWs.
- Develop and enhance opportunities for building the CHW workforce and its capacity to succeed.
CHW Scope of Work
CHWs work with many different types of partners including health care providers, managed care plans, human service organizations and community-based organizations. Job duties typically involve three main components: Helping people navigate health care and human services systems; providing culturally appropriate health education; and building individual and community capacity. It can also include care coordination or case management and advocating for individuals or communities served by the CHW.
Navigate the health and human services system:
- Coach individuals about how to use the health care and social service systems.
- Educate the health and social service systems about the needs and perspectives of individuals being served.
- Facilitate communication between health and social service providers and individuals.
- Facilitate continuity of care through education, support and reinforcement.
- Identify potential enrollees and assist them with applications for programs such as health insurance and public assistance.
- Inform individuals about and connect them with health and social service resources they may need.
- Provide feedback on system-related challenges associated with referring individuals to community agencies and providers.
Provide culturally appropriate health education:
- Provide culturally appropriate health information to clients, providers and communities.
- Educate individuals and communities about disease prevention, health promotion and infectious disease prevention (e.g. immunizations). Provide information about disease appropriate resources when necessary to help track and manage chronic conditions, such as monitoring blood glucose levels, BMI as well as appropriate usage of telehealth technology when available and appropriate.
- Assist individuals with self-management of chronic health conditions and medication adherence.
- Help individuals set measurable health improvement and self-management goals.
- Organize and/or facilitate support groups.
- Facilitate access to preventive services such as health screenings.
Build individual and community capacity:
- Articulate and advocate for the needs of individuals and populations in the community.
- Address/educate community members regarding identified community health needs.
- Coach individuals regarding advocacy on behalf of themselves and their community.
- Help build individual and community relationships.
- When possible, mentor other CHWs to help them benefit from prior experience and build capacity and expertise more efficiently.
- Identify continuing professional development needs and ways to fulfill them.
- Identify, articulate and help resolve, to the fullest extent possible, systemic problems inhibiting access to care.
- Respecting HIPAA guidelines, report to supervisors, service providers and/or community partners the plans, activities and progress.
- Document all work in a timely manner through the established administrative processes for both the individual clinical practice and for the funding agency.
- Provide social and emotional support to those being served.
- Gather data from individuals and the community that can be used to inform decision makers about population health needs and possible ways to address those needs.
SC CHW Core Competencies
1. Communication skills
1.1 Use language confidently
1.2 Use language in ways that engage and motivate
1.3 Communicate using plain and clear language
1.4 Communicate with empathy
1.5 Use active listening skills
1.6 Prepare written communication including electronic communication
(e.g., email, telecommunication device for the deaf)
1.7 Document work
1.8 Use culturally appropriate communication skills when serving the community
2. Interpersonal and Relationship-Building Skills
2.1 Provide coaching and social support
2.2 Conduct self-management coaching
2.3 Use interviewing techniques (e.g. motivational interviewing)
2.4 Work as a team member
2.5 Manage conflict
2.6 Practice cultural humility
3. Service Coordination and Navigation skills
3.1 Coordinate care (including identifying and accessing resources and overcoming barriers)
3.2 Conduct appropriate referrals
3.3 Facilitate development of an individual and/or group action plan and goal attainment
3.4 Coordinate CHW activities with clinical and other community services
3.5 Track care and referral outcomes
4. Capacity Building Skills
4.1 Facilitate goal identification and maximize personal development of others
4.2 Facilitate individual empowerment
4.3 Network and build community connections
4.4 Teach self-advocacy skills
4.5 Describe Community organizing
5. Advocacy Skills
5.1 Advocate for individuals and communities
6. Education and Facilitation Skills
6.1 Use empowering and learner-centered teaching strategies
6.2 Use a range of appropriate and effective educational techniques
6.3 Identify differences between teacher-centered and learner-centered instruction
6.5 Seek out appropriate information and respond to questions about pertinent topics
6.6 Identify and share requested information
6.7 Collaborate with other educators
6.8 Collect and use information from and with community members
7. Individual and Community Assessment skills
7.1 Participate in individual assessment through observation and active inquiry
7.2 Participate in community assessment through observation and active inquiry
8. Outreach skills
8.1 Conduct case-finding, recruitment and follow-up
8.2 Prepare and disseminate materials
8.3 Build a current resources inventory
9. Professional Skills and Conduct
9.1 Set goals, develop and follow a work plan
9.2 Balance priorities and manage time
9.3 Apply critical thinking techniques and problem solving
9.4 Use appropriate technology
9.5 Pursue continuing education and life-long learning opportunities
9.6 Maximize personal safety while working in community and/or clinical settings
9.7 Observe ethical and legal standards (e.g. CHW Code of Ethics, Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA], Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA])
9.8 Identify situations calling for mandatory reporting and carry out mandatory reporting requirements
9.9 Participate in professional development of peer CHWs and in networking among CHW groups
9.10 Establish personal boundaries and practice self-care
9.11 Participate in continuous quality improvement
10. Evaluation and Research Skills
10.1 Identify important concerns and better understand root causes
10.2 Recognize the evidence-based practices of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and Participatory Action Research (PAR)
10.3 Participate in evaluation and research processes including:
10.3i Identify priority issues
11. Knowledge Base
11.1 Describe social determinants of health, related disparities, and the concept of health equity.
11.2 Describe pertinent health issues
11.3 Describe healthy lifestyles and self-care
11.4 Describe mental/behavioral health issues and their connection to physical health
11.5 Describe health behavior theories
11.6 Describe basic public health principles
11.7 Describe the community served (including assets)
11.8 Describe the United States health and social service system
A certification with SCCHWA provides opportunities for furthering knowledge, skills, and formal education.