Enhancing Community Engagement by Schools and Programs of Public Health in the United States

Mindi B. Levin, Janice V. Bowie, Steven K. Ragsdale, Amy L. Gawad, Lisa A. Cooper, Joshua M. Sharfstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define community engagement as "the process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people" in order to improve their health and well-being. Central to the field of public health, community engagement should also be at the core of the work of schools and programs of public health. This article reviews best practices and emerging innovations in community engagement for education, for research, and for practice, including critical service-learning, community-based participatory research, and collective impact. Leadership, infrastructure, and culture are key institutional facilitators of successful academic efforts. Major challenges to overcome include mistrust by community members, imbalance of power, and unequal sharing of credit. Success in this work will advance equity and improve health in communities all around the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Public Health
PublisherAnnual Reviews Inc.
Number of pages17
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Public Health
ISSN (Print)0163-7525
ISSN (Electronic)1545-2093


  • collective impact
  • community engagement
  • community-based participatory research
  • equity
  • service-learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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