Community Health Workers are crucial to improving public health, especially in rural areas where health services are limited. Rural Community Health Workers improve health outcomes by acting as a connector between health services and patients. This week we learn more about the important role of CHWs in rural areas from Claire Hughes, a doctoral student and Outreach Coordinator at Community Health & Emergency Services (CHESI) in Cairo, IL. In our conversation with Claire, we delve into how research supports the role of CHWs and discuss current obstacles encountered by this workforce. We also explore how CHWs can impact the future of rural health equity.
“CHWs are a flexible workforce, and they can reach populations that licensed professionals, researchers and policymakers just will not be able to.”
Claire Hughes is the Outreach Coordinator at Community Health & Emergency Services (CHESI) in Cairo, IL. She has been working in outreach and family advocacy in Southern Illinois for almost 10 years and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Population Health at SIU Carbondale. Claire is an active advocate for the inclusion of peer-support interventions in rural healthcare. Her doctoral research focuses on the development of the community health worker workforce in rural healthcare systems.