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Community Engagement


Community Engagement

Health Policy and Planning supports meaningful, transparent and inclusive public participation of residents that are most impacted by the decisions at stake in planning and policy processes. Community is central to the process:

  • To learn about the issues we are trying to address.
  • To share power and resources.
  • To build community ownership of the issues.
  • To do “with” versus doing “for”
  • To honor community residents’ knowledge and experience.
  • To inform solutions, implementation, and evaluation

Health Policy and Planning supports local jurisdictions in advancing community participation in planning processes through education, process facilitation, health presentations and outreach.

Health Connection:
Research on the relationship between civic engagement and health is still nascent but increasingly revealing the connection between the two.  Civic engagement can include participating in community activities, volunteering, or voting, among other activities. All of these activities, however, are associated with improved health outcomes as people strengthen their social networks and improve community trust[i] [ii]. Social networks and community trust increase social capital, and increased social capital is associated with improved health outcomes[iii]. This chapter focuses on a few best practices for civic engagement and how they can be improved to serve all residents.


[i] Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Civic Participation, 2020. Accessed
[ii] Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. Civic Engagement, 2020. Accessed
[iii] Rocco L, Suhrcke M. Is social capital good for health? A European perspective. Copenhagen, WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2012.