Community Health Workers (CHWs) are critical for improving quality improvement initiatives because they provide insight into patient needs and the patient experience.

As trusted members of the communities they work in, CHWs see firsthand the gaps that exist in health and social service delivery. CHWs also have the benefit of working closely with staff and service providers, allowing them to integrate a variety of perspectives when problem-solving. Including CHWs in quality improvement teams ensures that health systems are designed with affected communities in mind.

The Community Health Worker Collaborative of South Dakota (CHWSD) is working to promote, support, and sustain the CHW profession in South Dakota. In collaboration with the South Dakota Department of Health, they developed the Community Health Worker Planning and Assessment Toolkit to provide organizations and health systems with resources to hire and integrate CHWs into their teams.

  • Overview of the CHW profession
  • Talking points for engaging decision-makers
  • Sample job description and interview guide
  • Best practices for integrating CHWs into clinical teams
  • Recommendations for CHW funding and demonstrating return on investment

The toolkit is free to use and can be accessed in either a self-paced format or as a continuing education course. CEUs are available for medical providers, nurses, social workers, counselors, addiction and prevention professionals, pharmacists, and dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants. Contact the CHWSD for more information.