Community Health Workers

Community Health workers

With new coverage options available under the Affordable Care Act, including the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio, more Ohioans now have the opportunity to maintain continuous health coverage. UHCAN Ohio wants to ensure that coverage leads to better health and a reduction of racial and ethnic health disparities. Thus, for the past several years, we have advocated for community health workers to be a part of the health care team.

We believe that Community Health Workers are a vital part of the medical team, critical to addressing health disparities and increasing diversity among healthcare providers.  While African Americans and Hispanics are among the fastest growing segments of the population, they are also the most severely underrepresented minorities in medicine. Today, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans together make up 25 percent of the U.S. population. However, only 6 percent of practicing doctors come from these groups [1].

Providers are often not from the communities they serve. With their knowledge of community, CHWs are often able to bridge cultural barriers between providers and patients. For patients facing multiple barriers to health, including health literacy and other non-medical challenges, a crucial part of the care team is the Community Health Worker.

UHCAN Ohio, through a grant from the RWJF, has teamed up with the Children’s Defense Fund, Community Health Worker training programs, and others around the state to create a model and a set of recommendations on how Ohio can expand the use of this critical workforce and create more sustainable mechanisms for paying for their services.


    • Research other payment strategies, training, and scope of practice for CHWs
    • Convene a statewide committee of experts to develop a model and set of recommendations
    • Develop a set of recommendations on integrating CHWs into the health care team that includes  payment models, training for CHWs and providers
    • Introduce the Community Health Worker Model to leaders of state and regional multi-payer initiatives promoting expanded use of the Patient Centered Medical Home model.


Children’s Defense Fund


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Staff contact

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