Community Health Worker Institute

The Community Health Worker Institute (CHWI) supports the advancement of the CHW workforce through training, coaching & showing impact in communities & working in partnership with clinical teams.

 

The CHWI is focused on five core areas of community health work: training, technical assistance, community health worker leadership development, community impact, and sustainability.

Introduction

The Community Health Worker Institute trains CHWs, provides technical assistance to help organizations integrate CHWs into their work utilizing best practices, and helps advance CHW evaluation and policy so that CHWs can help more South Carolinians access the resources they need and advance equity in their communities.

Research on CHWs shows proven effectiveness in reducing health inequities, containing costs, and improving outcomes across a wide range of diseases and conditions, including:

 

    1. Diabetes: African American patients with diabetes in West Baltimore City resulted in a decline in emergency room (ER) visits by 40%, ER admissions to hospitals declined by 33%, and Medicaid payments declined by 27%. The CHW program resulted in an average savings of $2,245 per patient per year, and a total savings of $262,080 for 117 patients.1
    2. Pediatric Asthma: CHWs provided in-home support among 74 low-income households with a child aged 4–12 years who had asthma. The CHW intervention resulted in decreased exposure to indoor asthma triggers and showed a projected four-year net savings per participant among the high intensity group was $721.2
    3. Blood Pressure: Patients assigned to the CHW group had a 26% higher rate of improvement in medication compliance than the control group. At the end of the 36-month RCT, 44% of the CHW group had controlled blood pressure as compared to 31% of the control group.3
    4. Primary care vs. ED Utilization: CHWs provided patient education for up to six months with 448 Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCO) enrollees in 11 counties in New Mexico. There was a significant reduction in both numbers of claims and payments for the CHW intervention group, including a greater reduction in costs for the CHW-intervention group in use of ambulatory and ED services, and an overall 4:1 return on investment for the CHW intervention group. 4

CHW Case Studies

Community health workers (CHWs) critically impact individuals and communities. The following case studies show how CHWs are changing lives and improving health outcomes throughout South Carolina.

For too long, individuals who are most impacted by health inequities have not had the access they need to the resources that can change their health and well-being. Evidence shows that the most lasting health solutions are produced by uplifting individuals and communities and aligning health services, resources, and support.

Impact

Community health workers (CHWs) critically impact individuals and communities.

As trusted community members, CHWs serve as a resource for increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency. CHWs also help improve health outcomes and overall well-being through various activities, including outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy.

Through the work of CHWs, people and communities have a greater understanding of the programs and services available to enhance their overall health. Assistance can be provided in various ways, such as helping with an unmet healthcare need or improving social determinants of health like transportation, food insecurity, living conditions, and even financial assistance and job opportunities.

The case studies compiled in our booklet on the left and listed below are a few examples of how CHWs in South Carolina are helping individuals, healthcare systems, and entire communities build on their strengths and break down barriers, so everyone has a chance to be healthier.

Individual Case Studies

Select from the list below and click to view the full case study PDF.

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Access to Healthcare: Union, South Carolina

Almost 10% of Union, South Carolina’s population is uninsured. A look at how CHWs are helping residents access care.

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Eliminating Barriers for Latino/Latina Communities: Spartanburg, South Carolina

CHWs intimately understand the gaps for various rural and minority populations throughout South Carolina. How CHWs are engaging communities to address health inequities.

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Sumter, South Carolina

Rural communities have long been underserved in healthcare and had CHWs before there was even a name for them.

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Rural Community Resource: Gaffney, South Carolina

CHWs are helping reduce challenging barriers related to healthcare access and unmet social needs in rural communities like Gaffney and the surrounding communities in South Carolina’s Upstate.

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A Community Health Hub Lee County’s Rural Health Library Program

A CHW approach to making health resources and support more readily accessible in rural communities.

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CHWs and Clinical Teams

Exploring The growing partnerships between CHWs and clinical teams.

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Maintaining a Team of CHWs

Building strong CHW teams throughout South Carolina by embracing best practices.

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