Community Health Worker Appreciation Month - Meet Maria Merino


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August is Community Health Worker Appreciation Month  |  Meet Maria

Community Health Workers

Community Health Workers (CHW) seek to promote the community's voice within the health care system. They are a front line public health worker who are trusted members of and have an understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables CHWs to serve as a link between health/social services and the community. In addition, they facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.


Meet Maria Merino 

How do you change lives one day at a time? 

I take time to understand each client's story to better understand them and to advocate on their behalf.

People who suffer from a mental health diagnosis are not always understood. Lack of training in the community is saddening to clients, as they too are people and deserve to be treated with respect and not as a threat to the others. Spreading the word for training opportunities, like Mental Health First Aid, should be a priority so light can be shed on how to handle people experiencing hardship. 

Do you need help with your health care? A CHW will:

  • meet with you at your convenience,
  • help you set health goals,
  • guide you through the health care system,
  • link you to medical care for your specific needs (primary, dental, specialty, mental health, substance abuse treatment),
  • help you manage your health conditions and prescriptions,
  • help you reduce hospital and emergency room visits,
  • link you to community services and resources (food, clothing, housing, financial and utility assistance, transportation, education, employment),
  • and much more!

For more information, go to or call 1-866-291-8691.

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If you are:

  • 18 years of age (or older) or pregnant;
  • live in Ottawa or Allegan County (49423 only);
  • enrolled in or eligible for Medicare and/or Medicaid;
  • and have two or more chronic health conditions (such as diabetes, depression, anxiety, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, hypertension or long-term pain); 

You may qualify for services - call (866) 291-8691(Se Habla Español) or go to