Leveraging Community Expertise to Advance Health Equity
The COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate effects on people of color and increased attention to racial justice have given rise to new or expanded efforts to address health inequities. In a new issue brief by the Urban Institute, the authors examined how governments and organizations adopt community engagement approaches to collaborate and share power with communities that experience health inequities. Drawing on interviews with representatives from national organizations and stakeholders in four states, the authors identified principles and strategies that help build trust with and engage community members, including ensuring sufficient and flexible funding and cross-sector support, dedicating time and patience and forging continuity, and fighting structural racism more broadly. The urgency of the pandemic is not only a challenge but an opportunity to elevate and operationalize community voices to better understand drivers of inequities and develop solutions with community buy-in, ultimately leading to inclusive and sustainable progress toward health equity.