As a leader in designing a community health assessment, it is expected that you would develop an engagement approach. Define engagement approach. Discuss the steps you would take to designing an engagement approach with stakeholders when designing a community health assessment. Whom would you include? Define each step and roles of any individuals you may include in these steps. Finally, does a “one size fit all” method apply here? Why or why not?
Give your personal opinion to Rachel Shi and Ashley Mcconnell
According to the Association for Community Health Improvement, the community engagement approach is a collaborative effort between hospitals, community members, and stakeholders in identifying and prioritizing health needs and developing strategies to address those issues (Association for Community Health Improvement, 2017). Stakeholders are any individuals or interest groups that are affected by the intervention, policy, or strategy used, so I would welcome and include any voices who could be impacted. The approach will definitely be different depending on the target population, group dynamics of the stakeholders, and the health issue at hand. Leadership should be adaptive, and involved parties should attempt to anticipate any downstream consequences of the intervention.
In mobilizing the team for a community health assessment, I would intentionally involve a network of parties in discussions, emphasizing unity in goals and leveraging the strengths and expertise of each asset. It is important to include representatives of vulnerable or at-risk populations who would be more knowledgeable about health issues, availabilities and deficits in resources, cultural norms and ways to communicate, and health beliefs. In addition, health data analysts would be important for evaluating pre-assessment and post-intervention conditions and developing an action plan.
Once a multidisciplinary, coherent team is assembled, attention would then be focused on defining the community of interest and obtaining other perspectives and insights about the target population. Demographic data must be collected along with information on physical resources, networks, and informational partnerships related to public health. Once a consensus is reached, discussions on prioritizing health needs, communicating the findings, and developing appropriate interventions can be arranged.
Association for Community Health Improvement. (2017). Community Health Assessment Toolkit. Retrieved from http://www.healthycommunities.org/Resources/toolkit.shtml#.W318ruhKhPZ
The current global health crisis, rising healthcare costs and aging population are driving forces for action in public health. Community Health Assessment and Improvement Planning is vital work for the future health of our communities.
The best plans may not be successful if the proper steps are not taken to ensure stakeholder support from the community. Establishing robust, trusting relationships with community stakeholders fosters a welcoming and inclusive environment, creating a stronger sense of joint ownership of the community health assessment (Association for Community Health Improvement, 2017).
To be “fully engaged” with a community, on a formal or informal level, calls for a preparation and involvement. Such engagement means working with communities to truly assist them in public health awareness and education. This can be done through a variety of methods, whether it be through town hall meetings, focus group sessions, one-on-one interpersonal dialogues, or a long-term community intervention project (Frederick, 2013).
The individuals included in this approach to engagement would be community leaders or board members of the city council, school board, chamber of commerce and local public health and healthcare leadership. Each individual would be represented in all phases of the engagement process including the identification of community cultural and economic factors that would shape the approach of improvement planning.
A one size fits all approach is not possible for the engagement approach in community assessment planning. The unique attributes and social dynamics that are represented in each community are far too different and require custom approaches to engage stakeholders in success.
Association for Community Health Improvement. (2017). Identify and engage stakeholders. Retrieved from http://www.healthycommunities.org/Resources/Toolkit/files/step2-identify-engagestakeholders.shtml#.W4VgfOhKhPY
Frederick Murphy, M. M. (2013). Community Engagement, Organization, and Development for Public Health Practice. Springer Publishing Company.
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