NYU Community Engagement Discussion
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Community engagement (CE) is a process where a group of people from the same geographic proximity, special interests or similar circumstances work collaboratively and effectively on issues that are affecting them. Community engagement consists of various principles, such as community capacity, empowerment, critical consciousness, participation and relevance, and health equity. Community capacity is the characteristics of the community that affects their abilities to identify and address problems, also, this concept promotes unity. Empowerment promotes co-learning, integrated knowledge and action and the ability to gain mastery over their lives and the lives of their community through a process called social action. Critical consciousness is a consciousness based on the cycle of reflection and action toward social change and the involvement of cyclical and iterative processes. Participation and relevance depict the ideology of community organization starting where the people are from and promoting equality of individuals in their own priorities and ensuring cultural relevancy. Health Equity is the process of addressing inequitable conditions that create health disparities such as identifying social determinants of health (Glanz et al., 2015).
Community organizing (CO) is a process where groups of individuals mobilize to address common issues and take action toward the issues. Community building (CB) is the process of engaging and collectively building a community between the neighborhood and the people. These two models are sometimes looked at as one model and are used interchangeably and they are similar in that they focus on the principles of social action and social justice. CO is more power-based social change, therefore, those who practice CO believes that to produce or affect change, the community must create an organization that can modify and redistribute power. Whereas, CB is more relationship-based social change and those who practice CB believes building a strong, compassionate, and respectful relationship among the members of the community is more effective (Glanz et al., 2015) (Wolff, 2008).
An example of the community model effectiveness is a setting of a predominantly minority-based inner-city community, that is experiencing social determinants of health through prejudiced treatment by healthcare providers. The community engagement health equity principle is a good example of health intervention for this situation, such as addressing the inequitable conditions that are creating the health disparities and social determinants of health problems. Additionally, allocating resources to the community, and implementing mandatory training programs for healthcare providers on health equity (Glanz et al., 2015) (O’Mara-Eves et al. 2015). A model that is appropriate for this health behavior is the world health organization’s social determinant of health model which describes contributing factors to health disparities due to health inequalities and solutions for improving such situations (World Health Organization [WHO], 2010).
Glanz, K., Rimer, B. K., & Viswanath, K. (2015). Health behavior: Theory, research, and practice (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
O’Mara-Eves, A., Bruton, G., Oliver, S., Kavanagh, J., Jamal, F., & Thomas, J. (2015). The effectiveness of community engagement in public health interventions for disadvantaged groups: a meta-analysis. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 1-23. Doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-1352-y
Wolff, T. (2008). Power-based vs. Relationship-based Social Change. Retrieved from https://www.tomwolff.com/resources/organizing_v_building.pdf
World Health Organization. (2010). A conceptual Framework for Action on the Social Determinants of Health. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/sdhconference/resources/ConceptualframeworkforactiononSDH_eng.pdf
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