Public Health Concepts & Approaches


The knowledge base for CHW practice is strongly influenced by the field of public health. Public health is a science-based discipline that focuses on protecting and promoting population health, preventing illness and injury, eliminating health inequities, and working to improve the health of vulnerable communities and populations. CHWs, like other public health practitioners, understand that individual health is shaped by family, community, and wider “social determinants of health.” CHWs often use their knowledge of the larger contexts of clients’ lives to provide support for them to overcome barriers or improve conditions that affect their health.

During our training, participants will learn to:
  • Use data and evidence-based practices in efforts to support clients in reaching their goals
  • Gain and share information about specific health topics most relevant to the populations and communities being served
  • Explain how plans for supporting individuals and families relate to wider social factors that influence health
  • Explain the relationship between health and social justice
  • Promote efforts to prevent injury and disease, including those that require policy changes, and support effective use of the health care system
  • Promote health equity and efforts to reduce health disparities through engagement with clients, professional colleagues, and community partners
  • Engage in systematic problem solving — including assessment, information gathering, goal setting, planning, implementation, evaluation, and revision of plans and methods, as necessary — to achieve shared objectives
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