This paper explores who a Community Health Worker (CHW) is and contextualizes the social, political, and historical factors that allowed for the growth of CHWs within the primary health care sector in the U.S. It analyzes how CHWs perceive their own roles and responsibilities within the U.S. health system as a means of highlighting the gap within health care services and the influence of Social Determinants of Health (SDH) on well-being. The second part of this paper relates CHWs to scholarship by medical anthropologist Paul Farmer and public health scholar Alicia Yamin concerning pathologies of power and the need for national health care reform initiatives that prioritize health as a human right. I suggest how the concept of a CHW informs current perceptions of well-being and health in terms of SDH and embodies the action needed to shift health as a human right social movements from theory to reality.

First Advisor

Kristin Johnson

Second Advisor

Ben Lewin

Third Advisor

George Erving

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Science, Technology, & Society

Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2017


Interdisciplinary Studies