Kansas CHWs

In Kansas and throughout the country, community health workers (CHWs) are also known by names including health navigator, promotor(a), advocate, and educator. CHWs serve as a bridge between community members and the medical and social services they need, but their role and importance has been less well known than that of other frontline health workers.

The Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition defines a community health worker as a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the worker to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery (definition adapted from the American Public Health Association, 2016).

The Health Fund supports CHW initiatives because we see value in the training and deployment of culturally-competent community health workers. Our prior investments have helped define the community health worker field and build capacity of the CHW effort in Kansas. Currently, we are funding a pilot program that supports five CHW positions across Kansas. As part of this project, Health Fund staff have established a learning community to support CHWs and their team as they participate in the program. The learning community serves as a platform to share lessons learned across sites and utilize outside experts. 



Application Approved

I had a client go to Lifeline four times to try and get on their phone program. She was denied every time…I had the client send me copies of all her supporting documents and I went on her behalf. I was there for 2 hours and was denied.

When I called to file a grievance on behalf of the client, it was explained that the client was denied the DCF program because her DCF benefit letter was in Spanish. This did not make sense because DCF gives this as an option when clients apply. The worker was able to approve the client’s application on the spot. I then returned to the store, picked up a phone, and took it to the client.

Suzana Hernandez, CHW
Sedgwick County Health Department

Caregiver Support

I helped a patient with stage 4 cancer through the paperwork process to get his part-time caregiver paid. Ultimately, his caregiver support increased, which allowed the patient to have assistance with
household chores, shopping, transportation to and from appointments, etc.

Stephanie Goetz, Care Coordinator
Salina Family Healthcare Center

Achieving Goals

One of my first referrals was a 23-year-old, obstetric patient, mother of two. The client had no insurance and was considering cancelling her ultrasound appointment as she didn’t have the money to pay for it. During the enrollment process, I found she had numerous goals we could work on together. Many goals were met: applying for Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, moving from an unsafe apartment to subsidized housing, obtaining a library card for internet access, enrolling in the adult learning center…It’s so rewarding to see how well this client is doing since her discharge. She is happier, healthier and has become very self-sufficient.

Lucy Watie, former CHW
Bob Wilson Hospital, Ulysses

Eviction Notice

We had a patient referred to the clinic who had an eviction notice. She was ill and unable to work, which led to financial hardship. We were able to assist the patient with a KERA application, money for medications through Catholic charities, groceries through our clinic funding, and other resources in the community. Eventually we were able to assist the patient with CPR recertification so she could return to working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). The patient has been successful with paying bills, staying healthy and being able to care for her children.

Stephanie Goetz, Care Coordinator
Salina Family Healthcare Center


Introduction to CHWs
Chronic conditions playlist
Health outcomes playlist
2022 Webinar: Community Health Workers – Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities
Reimbursement of services playlist
Health accessibility playlist
Return on investment playlist

© United Methodist Health Ministry Fund