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We need community health workers

by Alisha Bhagat, Aug 11
1 minute read

CHWs are frontline public health staff who conduct outreach and build trust with vulnerable populations and have a particularly important role in stopping disease spread. Despite CHWs being labeled essential workers during the pandemic, CHWs were underused and underemployed during the pandemic.

person in blue denim jeans with gray and black metal padlock

So what?

Many US states decided to lay off CHWs and are missing the opportunity to leverage them during the pandemic. CHWs are uniquely positioned to address a number of issues such as addressing misinformation about disease prevention and treatment, providing culturally specific care, and expanding the capacity of other public service providers such as homeless shelters, food pantries, and local agencies providing people with assistance.

Additional efforts are needed to address the needs of CHWs and ensure that they are fairly paid and well trained in order to adequately address the many needs of the pandemic such as contact tracing, community outreach, and providing verified information. How might we better support CHWs and see them as vital part of the health care system?



by Alisha Bhagat Spotted 27 signals

Alisha Bhagat is the futures lead at Forum for the Future. Her work focuses on the creative use of futures tools to impact long term positive change, particularly around social justice and equality. Alisha brings a broad toolkit to her work and designs games, creates immersive experiences, and brings the future to life. In addition to her work at Forum, Alisha is a part-time faculty member at Parsons School of Design where she teaches the Futures Studies and Speculative Design certificate. Prior to joining Forum, Alisha was a foreign policy consultant for the US government and a fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu. Alisha holds an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a BS in Anthropology and History from Carnegie Mellon University. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2005. When not thinking about the future, Alisha is an avid gamer and science fiction enthusiast.

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