The CHW Definition and Scope of Practice form part of the backbone of the CHW Field in Minnesota.
When the CHW Certificate Curriculum was first created, the planning group did not set out to create a curriculum but first asked, “what is needed to move the CHW profession forward?” The initial answers were a CHW Definition and Scope of Practice. These were created by a broad-based group of CHWs, representatives of clinics, hospitals, Local Public Health, community-based organizations, medical organizations, culturally specific organizations, health plans, state agencies, educators, the Board of Nursing, Social Workers, FQHCs, and others. Their thought was that the CHW Definition and Scope of Practice would begin to define the field. The CHW Definition focused on what the group had found and research-validated made a strong CHW: shared life, cultural and linguistic experience with the population they serve (or a very close connection and understanding of it), trustworthy and compassionate. CHWs are recognized by their community as a trusted resource.
Once the definition was in place, the group worked on the Scope of Practice. The Scope of Practice was created with input from the Minnesota Board of Nursing and socials workers, two professions expected to work closely with CHWs. The CHW definition and Scope of Practice were designed to define a distinct and needed workforce; a workforce that could help Minnesota’s health professions begin to reflect the population.