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Am J Public Health. 1995 Aug;85(8 Pt 1):1055-8.

Community health workers: integral members of the health care work force.

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Pew Health Professions Commission, Center for the Health Professions, University of California at San Francisco 94109, USA.


As the US health care system strives to function efficiently, encourage preventive and primary care, improve quality, and overcome nonfinancial barriers to care, the potential exists for community health workers to further these goals. Community health workers can increase access to care and facilitate appropriate use of health resources by providing outreach and cultural linkages between communities and delivery systems; reduce costs by providing health education, screening, detection, and basic emergency care; and improve quality by contributing to patient-provider communication, continuity of care, and consumer protection. Information sharing, program support, program evaluation, and continuing education are needed to expand the use of community health workers and better integrate them into the health care delivery system.

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