CHW Word cloud

Job Titles

“Community Health Workers -The workforce with many names – Diversity is our UNITY!”


APHA Definition of Community Health Worker:

“A community health worker is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.

A CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.”


WHO Logo

World Health Organization International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO)            Community Health Worker ISCO: 3253


Effective January 2010; the Department of Labor and Statistics (BLS)recognized Community Health Workers (CHW) as (SOC) Standard Occupation Classification 21-1094


National Uniform Claim Committee

  • Community Health Worker – 172V00000X [definition]
      Status: Active
     Code: 172V00000X
     Type: Level II Classification
    Community Health Worker
    Community health workers (CHW) are lay members of communities who work either for pay or as volunteers in association with the local health care system in both urban and rural environments and usually share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status and life experiences with the community members they serve. They have been identified by many titles such as community health advisors, lay health advocates, “promotores(as), outreach educators, community health representatives, peer health promoters, and peer health educators. CHWs offer interpretation and translation services, provide culturally appropriate health education and information, assist people in receiving the care they need, give informal counseling and guidance on health behaviors, advocate for individual and community health needs, and provide some direct services such as first aid and blood pressure screening. Some examples of these practitioners are Community Health Aides or Practitioners established under 25 USC §1616 (l) under HHS, Indian Health Service, Public Health Service.  Source: Health Resources and Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services – National Workforce Study on Community Health Workers, March, 2007. [7/1/2007: new]


Some of the many Job titles that CHW are employed as in the USA (Paid and unpaid) are:

  1. Abuse Counselor
  2. Access Worker
  3. Accompagnateurs ( Partners in Health Haiti)
  4. Acompañantes (Mexico)
  5. Adult Case Manager
  6. Addiction Treatment Specialist
  7. Assistor Case Coordinator
  8. Asthma Outreach Worker
  9. Asthma Educator
  10. Asthma Family Support Worker
  11. Asthma Peer Educator
  12. Bilingual Family Outreach Specialist
  13. Bilingual Family Advocate
  14. Birth Assistant (Doula)
  15. Birth Attendant
  16. Birthing Family Support Worker
  17. Case Management Technician
  18. Care Coordinator
  19. Care Transitions Coordinator
  20. Career Coach
  21. Case Worker
  22. Case Managers SNAP
  23. Certified Application Assistant (CAA)
  24. Certified Recovery Specialist
  25. Close -to- Community- Providers
  26. Community Activist
  27. Community Advocate
  28. Community Aide
  29. Community Care Worker (CCW)
  30. Community Coordinator
  31. Community Connector ( Kaiser, Molina)
  32. Community Dental Health Coordinators (CDHC)
  33. Community Health Associate
  34. Community Follow-Up Worker
  35. Community Health Adviser
  36. Community Health Advocate
  37. Community Health Aide
  38. Community Health Coach
  39. Community Health Coordinator
  40. Community Health Educator (CHE)
  41. Community Health Navigators
  42. Community Health Outreach Worker (CHOW)
  43. Community Health Partners
  44. Community Health Promotion and Awareness Interns
  45. Community Health Representative (CHR)
  46. Community Health Specialist
  47. Community Health Worker ( CHW) (BLS SOC 21-1094 Community Health Workers)
  48. Community Liaison
  49. Community-Clinical Linkage Specialist (CCL)
  50. Community Navigator
  51. Community Organizer
  52. Community Outreach Manager
  53. Community Outreach Navigator
  54. Community Outreach Worker
  55. Community Social Worker
  56. Cooperative Extension Professionals
  57. Counselor
  58. Cultural Case Manager
  59. Cultural Counselor
  60. Cultural Interpreter
  61. Cultural Mediator
  62. Diabetes Educator
  63. Diabetes Family Support Worker
  64. Diabetes Navigator
  65. Direct Care Worker
  66. Discharge Planner
  67. Doula -Greek- “Women Who Serves” ( Birth Assistant)
  68. Educator
  69. Eligibility Worker
  70. Enrollment Worker
  71. Family Advocate
  72. Family Education Coordinator
  73. Family Planning Counselor
  74. Family Support Worker
  75. Family Advocate
  76. Family Health Advocate
  77. Family Health Promoter
  78. Family Leadership Specialist
  79. Family Outreach Worker (FOW)
  80. Family Support Specialist
  81. Family Support Worker
  82. Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV) Nepal
  83. Financial Counselor
  84. Frontline Health Worker
  85. Head Start Teacher Assistant
  86. Health Advisor
  87. Health Advocate
  88. Health Agent
  89. Health Assistant
  90. Health Broker
  91. Health Communicator
  92. Health Educator
  93. Health Extension Workers
  94. Health Facilitator
  95. Health/Nutrition Support Worker
  96. Health Information Specialist
  97. Health Insurance Counselor
  98. Health Promoter
  99. Health Liaison
  100. Health Specialist
  101. Health Workers
  102. HIV/AIDS Educator
  103. HIV/AIDS Family Support Worker
  104. HIV Peer Advocate
  105. HIV Prevention Coordinator
  106. HIV Risk Assessment/Disclosure Counselor
  107. HIV Service Coordinator
  108. HIV/STD Prevention Counselor
  109. Home Care Worker
  110. Home Visitor
  111. Home-Based Clinician Intake Specialist
  112. Homeless Advocate
  113. Independent Living Services Manager
  114. Informal Counselor
  115. Intake Coordinator
  116. Intake Assistant
  117. Interpreter
  118. La Leche Peer Counselor (Breastfeeding support)
  119. Lay Health Advisor (LHA)
  120. Lady Health Worker (LHW)
  121. Lay Health Advocate
  122. Lay Health Worker (LHW)
  123. Líderes para Cambio
  124. Maternal and Child Health Case Manager
  125. Medical Concierge
  126. Medical Interpreter
  127. Medical Representative
  128. Mental Health First Aid Responder
  129. Mental Health Worker
  130. Men’s Health Specialist
  131. Men’s Health Worker
  132. Multicultural Health Brokers
  133. Natural Researcher
  134. Navigator
  135. Neighborhood Health Advocate
  136. New Professionals
  137. Non Clinicians
  138. Nutrition Adviser
  139. Nutrition Assistant
  140. Nutrition Educator
  141. Nutrition Support Worker Mental Health Aide
  142. Outreach Advocate
  143. Outreach Case Manager
  144. Outreach Coordinator
  145. Outreach Educator
  146. Outreach Specialist
  147. Outreach Worker
  148. Parent Aide
  149. Parent Liaison
  150. Part Time Project Associates
  151. Patient Experts
  152. Patient Navigator
  153. Peer Advocate
  154. Peer Counselor
  155. Peer Educator
  156. Peer Health Advisor
  157. Peer Health Educator
  158. Peer Leader
  159. Physical Activity Specialist
  160. Preconception Peer Educator (Department of Minority Health)
  161. Pre-Perinatal Health Specialists
  162. Prevention Specialist
  163. Program Coordinator
  164. Promotor(a)
  165. Promotor(a) de Salud
  166. Promotores
  167. Public Health Advisor
  168. Public Health Aide
  169. Public Service Aide
  170. Roving Listener
  171. SDOH Specialist
  172. Social Determinants of Health Specialists
  173. Social Worker Assistant
  174. Street Outreach Worker
  175. Team Advocate, Level I
  176. Trabajadores Comunitarios
  177. Trained Health Extension Workers
  178. Village Health Workers (Malawi)
  179. Volunteers
  180. Volunteer Health Worker
  181. Voluntary Health Worker
  182. Wellness Ambassadors
  183. Women’s Health Specialist
  184. Youth Development Specialist
  185. Youth Worker-Program Assistant
  186. Youth Peer Counselor
  187. Youth Worker

Indiana CHW Association

WHO Logo

Community health workers: What do we know about them? The state of the evidence on programmes, activities, costs and impact on health outcomes of using community health workers A report by Uta Lehmann and David Sanders School of Public Health University of the Western Cape

Evidence and Information for Policy, Department of Human Resources for Health Geneva, January 2007

The authors drew on previous work conducted by themselves in this area (Lehmann, 2004). We then searched a number of databases (PubMed, POPLINE, Healthstar, Omni, SOSIG), of which PubMed proved by far the most productive.

Search terms:

  1.  CHWs
  2.  LHWs
  3.  VHWs
  4.  lay health workers
  5.  lady health workers
  6.  volunteer health workers
  7.  voluntary health workers
  8.  community health workers
  9.  community health distributors
  10.  community health surveyors
  11.  community health assistants
  12.  community health promoters
  13.  promotoras de salud.
  14.  community health agents (agentes de saúde)
  15.  rural health auxiliaries (used primarily in the 1970s)
  16.  traditional midwives
  17.  TBAs
  18.  traditional birth attendants
  19.  health promoters

The criteria for inclusion were a focus on developing countries and publication in a peer-reviewed publication, a published book or a formal evaluation report

Search Terms for Informal Providers in Developing countries (This is  very important to understand the reason for concerns around quality of care issues and perception of the role and scope of practice issues of CHW in the USA)

  1. Barefoot Doctors – China
  2. Feldshers- Russia
  3. Nompilo -“Mother of Health” in Zulu- South Africa
  4. Shasthya Shebika – Bengali- India
  5. Doula – Greek – “Women Who Serves”
  6. Informal Health Providers

Table 1. Search Terms for Informal Providers.

  1. Alternative healer
  2. Less than fully qualified practitioner
  3. Alternative health practitioner
  4. Local medical practitioner
  5. Alternative health provider
  6. Medical detailer
  7. Alternative medical practitioner
  8. Non-graduate medical practitioner
  9. Alternative medical provider
  10. Non-registered health care provider
  11. Alternative practitioner
  12. Non-state actor
  13. Alternative provider
  14. Patent medicine vendor
  15. Ayurved Pharmacy worker
  16. Ayurveda Private sector
  17. Community Health Agent
  18. Community Health Assistant
  19. Community Health Distributors
  20. Community Health Promotores
  21. Community Health Surveyors
  22. Community Health Worker
  23. Quack
  24. Compounder
  25. Rural Medical Practitioner
  26. Detailer
  27. Rural Health Auxillaries
  28. Rural Practitioner
  29. Drug seller
  30. Semi-qualified provider
  31. Drug vendor S
  32. Shopkeeper
  33. Folk medicine
  34. Traditional birth attendant (TBA)
  35. Traditional Midwife
  36. Folk practitioner
  37. Traditional healer
  38. Hakeem
  39. Traditional medical practitioner
  40. Healer
  41. Traditional practitioner
  42. Herbalist
  43. Traditional provider
  44. Homeopath
  45. Traditional therapists
  46. Indigenous practitioner
  47. Unqualified allopathic provider
  48. Individual practitioner
  49. Unqualified provider
  50. Informal provider
  51. Untrained practitioner
  52. Informal sector
  53. Untrained provider
  54. Lady health worker
  55. Village Health Worker (VHW)
  56. Village Doctor




Global Health Workforce Alliance (2013) Synergy among partners’ actions. Concept note (draft 1) Identifying knowledge gaps and defining a need based Global Research Agenda by 2015 on CHWs. GHWA, Geneva, Switzerland.

Lewin S, Babigumira S, Bosch-Capblanch X, Aja G van Wyk B, Glenton C, Scheel I, Zwarenstein M, Daniels K (2006) Lay health workers in primary and community health care. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, 1(CD004015).

WHO (2012) WHO recommendations: optimizing health worker roles to improve access to key maternal and newborn health interventions through task shifting. WHO, Geneva, Switzerland.