Issue Briefs | Jan 30, 2023

Transformational Community Engagement to Advance Health Equity

Tekisha Dwan Everette, Dashni Sathasivam, and Karen Siegel, Health Equity Solutions

Within government, policy and programmatic changes are often made without engaging the people they will affect or the people currently experiencing the challenges of existing policies and programs. Inequities in COVID-19 mortality, morbidity, and vaccine distribution have underlined the historical legacies and contemporary realities of distrust of government and the failures of our health and social services systems to meet the needs of people of color. Community engagement is one of the ways states are attempting to establish and maintain trust and improve the accessibility and quality of services. This issue brief outlines the ways in which such efforts can improve communication, lead to more effective and efficient programs, and result in ongoing collaboration with people who have experienced state-run systems and services. The brief also contains a list of strategies and tactics, which offers options for states to consider when working to advance towards transformational community engagement and achieve their community engagement goals.

For more information on specific strategies states can employ to engage program enrollees, see the companion issue brief State Examples of Medicaid Community Engagement Strategies: Two Case Studies.