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February 23, 2024 Clouds | 37°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 259: Definitions applicable to Secs. 259 to 262

Section 259. The following words as used in sections 259 to 262, inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires, shall have the following meanings:—

''Board'', the board of certification of community health workers.

''Board-approved education and training program'', a training and education program for community health workers that meets standards established by the board for such education and training.

''Certificate'', the document issued by the board to qualified applicants for certification as a community health worker.

''Certification'', the voluntary process by which an agency grants recognition and use of a credential to individuals who have met predetermined and standardized requirements.

''Certified community health worker'', a community health worker to whom the board has issued a certificate of competency to practice as a certified community health worker.

''Community health worker'', a public health worker who applies his unique understanding of the experience, language and culture of the populations he serves through 1 or more of the following roles:

(a) providing culturally appropriate health education, information and outreach in community-based settings such as homes, schools, clinics, shelters, local businesses and community centers;

(b) bridging or culturally mediating between individuals, communities and health and human services, including actively building individual and community capacity;

(c) assuring that community members access the services they need;

(d) providing direct services, such as informal counseling, social support, care coordination and health screenings;

(e) advocating for individual and community needs; and

(f) additional roles as may be identified by the board that may emerge in the development of community health worker practice.

Community health workers may be distinguished from other health professionals in that they:

(a) are employed primarily for their understanding of, and connection with, the populations and communities they serve;

(b) conduct outreach during a significant portion of the time they provide services through 1 or more of the roles set forth in this section; and

(c) have experience providing services in community settings.

''Core competencies'', a set of overlapping and mutually reinforcing skills and knowledge essential for effective community health work in core areas that include, but are not limited to:

(a) outreach methods and strategies;

(b) client and community assessment;

(c) effective communication;

(d) culturally-based communication and care;

(e) health education for behavior change;

(f) support, advocacy and coordination of care for clients;

(g) application of public health concepts and approaches;

(h) community capacity building; and

(i) writing and technical communication skills.

''Practice as a community health worker'', use by a community health worker of the education, training and experience in the community health worker core competencies to effectively provide services to the communities and populations he serves through 1 or more of the roles of the community health worker.