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Enhancing Community Engagement by Schools and Programs of Public Health in the United States

Authors
  • Levin, Mindi B.
  • Bowie, Janice V.
  • Ragsdale, Steven K.
  • Gawad, Amy L.
  • Cooper, Lisa A.
  • Sharfstein, Joshua M.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Public Health
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
Volume
42
Pages
405–421
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-090419-102324
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define community engagement as “the process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people” in order to improve their health and well-being. Central to the field of public health, community engagement should also be at the core of the work of schools and programs of public health. This article reviews best practices and emerging innovations in community engagement for education, for research, and for practice, including critical service-learning, community-based participatory research, and collective impact. Leadership, infrastructure, and culture are key institutional facilitators of successful academic efforts. Major challenges to overcome include mistrust by community members, imbalance of power, and unequal sharing of credit. Success in this work will advance equity and improve health in communities all around the world.

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