Limited resources, a lack of access, cultural barriers—these are among the challenges faced by the communities we serve.

Connecting to communities through community health workers is one way Fairview is responding.

As frontline public health workers, community health workers are becoming an increasingly important part of the health care landscape. Typically coming from the communities they serve, community health workers can help to bridge cultural and linguistic barriers, expand access to coverage and care and improve overall health outcomes.

Francisco Ramirez joined Fairview as its first community health worker. Having worked as a doctor in Mexico before moving to the United States in 2004, Francisco was familiar with the need for health education and eager to be part of the solution.

“We advocate for patients,” says Francisco.

His role helps community members learn to navigate the system, access medical insurance and learn about healthy habits by attending health education classes.

“A community health worker can play a unique role in that they come from the communities they serve so they have a shared language and a shared culture,” explains Alissa Leroux Smith, community health and volunteer services manager.  “They’re more quickly able to connect with community members, build that relationship and build trust.”

“We learned that the Latino community had lower rates of colon cancer screening than average, and so through the relationships that Francisco had built, we did outreach and were able to offer free colonoscopies to uninsured community members,” says Alissa.

Prevention is the key, says Francisco. Working together to find ways to become healthier is at the heart of this effort.

Community health workers are one way Fairview responds to unmet health needs in the communities we serve. Learn more about our commitment to community health.