An ethical framework for community health workers and related institutions

Fam Community Health. 2007 Oct-Dec;30(4):351-63. doi: 10.1097/01.FCH.0000290547.40952.f9.


The aim of this article is to provide practical ethical guidance and to foster further critical reflection on ethical issues in the work, education, and training of community health workers. The analysis includes implications for associated institutions. We first summarize the roles of community health workers and some evaluations of their work. After next highlighting ethical elements from the literature, we then give a justification for the ethical framework that follows. The article then provides a detailed discussion of a set of basic ethical principles for the field of community health work. Among the principles, we argue that the following 3 should have a foundational role: equal and substantial respect, justice, and care. Among these, respect is most fundamental.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Beneficence
  • Clinical Competence
  • Community Health Services / ethics*
  • Community Health Workers / education
  • Community Health Workers / ethics*
  • Community Health Workers / standards
  • Community Participation
  • Culture
  • Health Services Accessibility / ethics*
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Public Health / ethics
  • Public Health / standards
  • Social Environment
  • Social Justice*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Workforce