Community Engagement

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Edward Kennedy

Listening is a key element of community engagement. Community engagement is the act of building a relationship with people in the community you serve. Research shows that organizations that involve members of the community in their planning and service delivery have improved quality, safety, and customer satisfaction. There are different ways to engage members of the community in your organizational activities. Federally qualified health centers have at least 51% of their Boards of Directors who are patients. Hospitals and community organizations may create Patient and Family Advisory Boards. Community Health Workers (CHWs) are part of the health care workforce who are trusted members of the community. CHWs act as the bridge between the community and the health care system. Consumers can be helpful in providing input in planning, programming, marketing and promotion, websites and web portals and strategies for meeting community needs. People in the community bring various perspectives that can improve quality, safety, experience and ensure that the needs of the community are being met.

Thompson, B., Molina, Y., Biswanath, K, Warnecke, R. & Prelip, M. (2016) Strategies to Empower Communities to Reduce Health Disparities, Health Affairs, 35:81424-1428;

Mohammed, K., Nolan, M. B., Rajjo, T., Shah, N. D., Prokop, L. J., Varkey, P., & Murad, M. H. (2016). Creating a patient-centered health care delivery system: a systematic review of health care quality from the patient perspective. American Journal of Medical Quality, 31(1), 12-21.

Carman, K. Dardess, P, Maurer, M, Sofaer, S, Adams, K, Bechtel, C. & Sweeney, J. (2013) Patient and family engagement: A framework for understanding the elements and developing interventions and policies. Health Affairs. 32(2). 223-231.


Leaders throughout the organization can act as change agents, moving the organization to become more culturally effective. What can leaders do?

Policies and Procedures

Written policies and procedures provide documentation of an organizations commitment to equity. What policies promote equity?

Data Collection and Analysis

Data provides the foundation for decision-making and evaluation. How can data help in strategic planning?

Community Engagement

Building relationships with the community contributes to connectedness and sharing feedback. How can you create an environment to share knowledge?

Language and Communication Access

Communication is key to quality patient care. What are strategies to enhance cross cultural communication?

Staff Cultural Competence

Staff interact with patients to promote good health outcomes. How can you promote the cultural competency of your workforce?

Workforce Diversity and Inclusion

Organizations want to attract a highly skilled workforce from diverse backgrounds. What are strategies that promote workforce diversity?

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