Community Health Workers Lend a Helping Hand to Health

Navigating the health care system and making good choices for healthy living can be challenging for everyone. But add in limited resources, a justified and well-engrained mistrust of health care providers and institutions, and other logistical barriers, and it’s easy to see why plenty of people in West Philadelphia don’t always get the health care they need and deserve.

That’s where people like Norma Gerald, a senior community health worker with Penn Medicine, come in. Because they live among the community in which they work, community health workers are fine-tuned to its sensitivities and obstacles. That gives Gerald and her colleagues a special connection that they build on to help clients tackle health goals, access care, and more.

It’s work that makes a tangible difference in patients’ lives. They stay healthier, spend less time in hospitals, and need fewer health interventions. These substantial yields are all in a day’s work, according to Gerald: “It’s very fulfilling to be able to help somebody feel better about themselves and get their health a little better, as well as being able to support them and help them navigate all these different systems.”

See more in the Penn Medicine News Blog