Engage Partners and Community Stakeholders

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An exciting thing about health system transformation is the way healthcare, public health and community partners are working together to improve population health. Beginning with assessment and continuing through implementation and evaluation, it’s essential to engage diverse organizations and individuals – and keep them engaged.

Challenges

Challenge: Potential participants may be wary of token engagement.

Try: Be transparent as to whether (and how) input will actually affect decisions, and make a point of sharing progress and results to those who have been involved. See the Communications section for more information.

 

Challenge: High level decision makers have many demands upon their time and energy.

Try: Ask them to recommend a trusted staff/advisor who can devote more time. Make sure information is being shared up and down the chain of decision makers, from frontline individuals to high-level decision makers.

 

Challenge: Consumers, especially from vulnerable populations, face unique barriers to participation.

Try: Find ways to compensate representatives from disparate groups for participating in collaborative work. Offer travel reimbursement, small stipends that cover child care and/or missed work. Look for opportunities to meet them where they are literally as well as figuratively. This usually provides insights that meeting attendance cannot.

 

Challenge: Coalition may be heavily weighted with government and non-profit partners, limiting scope.

Try: Identify non-traditional entities/individuals that could benefit as well. An example from tobacco prevention work: engaging property owners in smoke-free housing policy. The benefit to property owners was reduced fire hazard and lower cleaning and maintenance costs. The benefit to the community was reduced exposure to secondhand smoke.

Resources