Comparative Case Analysis of the Role of Community Health Workers in Rural and Low-Income Populations of West Virginia and the United States

J Ambul Care Manage. 2020 Jul/Sep;43(3):205-220. doi: 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000335.


The rural United States, including West Virginia, has decades of experience engaging communities and utilizing community health workers (CHWs). This study aims to inform policy and planning by comparing how 2 county-level CHW programs engage with communities. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews with 19 community representatives and 20 health workers and archival documents and published literature reviews. Results highlight the local contextual determinants for community engagement with CHW programs. Making CHW policies inclusive and adaptable to local realities will enable more community benefits. Making the value of CHW programs for communities explicit should guide resource allocation and policies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Workers*
  • Community Networks / economics*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Policy Making
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Professional Role*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rural Population*
  • United States
  • West Virginia