Being a Community Health Worker Means Advocating

Participation, Perceptions, and Challenges in Advocacy

in Anthropology in Action

Community health workers (CHWs) participate in advocacy as a crucial means to empower clients in overcoming health disparities and to improve the health and social well-being of their communities. Building on previous studies, this article proposes a new framework for conceptualising CHW advocacy, depending on the intended impact level of CHW advocacy. CHWs participate in three ‘levels’ of advocacy, the micro, the macro, and the professional. This article also details the challenges they face at each level. As steps are taken to institutionalise these workers throughout the United States and abroad, there is a danger that their participation in advocacy will diminish. As advocacy serves as a primary conduit through which to empower clients, enshrining this role in steps to integrate these workers is essential. Finally, this article provides justification for the impacts of CHWs in addressing the social determinants of health and in helping their communities strive towards health equity.

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Anthropology in Action

Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice