Community Voices for Health

Community Voices for Health is a new initiative supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with technical assistance from Public Agenda and Altarum, to strengthen the infrastructure for engagement in health. The goal of Community Voices for Health is to build stronger engagement infrastructure that involves a broader range of people—especially marginalized and underserved communities—so their voices are heard in healthcare policymaking decisions, their efforts to solved problems are supported, and their community networks are strengthened.

Public Agenda and Altarum work with grantees, policymakers and researchers in each state to identify and leverage existing engagement assets, add new activities, support community-engaged research efforts, and connect with state and local decision-makers.

Community Voices for Health aims to strengthen the infrastructure for engagement so that:
  1. It builds on the ways people are already engaging—as much as possible, 'meeting people where they are'
  2. There are more regular, ongoing opportunities for people to engage—especially populations and communities who are marginalized, excluded, or underserved
  3. Engagement is informed and improved by data and sound evidence from trusted sources in the state
  4. When people engage locally, they are supported and connected in ways that add up to a coherent statewide voice
  5. People and policymakers are connected in ways that lead to better state-level decisions about health care, social service, and public health systems

Building Blocks to Support Youth Leadership in Nevada

December 7, 2020

In addition to being the leaders of tomorrow, young people can be catalytic leaders for today. This capacity has become increasingly evident in the past few years, as youth leaders have prompted civil discussion and constructive policy change across the country. The potential of youth leadership has inspired a project in Nevada called “Nevada 95 … Read more

Activating the network to fight COVID-19 in Pennsylvania

November 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has posed huge challenges for many organizations, including nonprofits, grassroots groups, community organizing initiatives, and government agencies. When the crisis hit earlier this year, organizations that relied on face-to-face relationships to engage their constituents, or even to work together within the office, suddenly had to adapt.

Can Health Councils Plan for a Culture of Health in New Mexico?

November 4, 2020

As COVID-19 swept across the country, one of the hardest hit areas were the lands of the Navajo Nation and nearby Native American communities in Northwestern New Mexico. Throughout the spring and summer, the pandemic emerged as a severe test of New Mexico’s county and tribal health councils, which were established to address community health … Read more

“Some of Us Have Never Been Silent”: Race, health and engagement in Southwest Georgia

October 21, 2020

Bambie Hayes-Brown has always known three Georgias. “There was “Atlanta,” “Most of Georgia,” and then there was “Southwest Georgia,” she writes in the blog for her organization, Georgia ACT, a statewide membership organization of nonprofit housing and community development organizations. A lifelong resident of Southwest Georgia, Hayes-Brown has borne witness to the stark disparities between … Read more

Strengthening our systems for engagement—and health—in Indiana

October 6, 2020

Our systems for engagement are failing to support effective decision-making and problem-solving, and trust between citizens and government is at an all-time low. This is partly because the legal framework for public engagement is badly outdated – it consists largely of laws that were passed before the Internet was invented, and the public meetings, hearings … Read more

Trust + Research: The experience of BeHeard Mile High in amplifying the voices of African Americans in Colorado

September 22, 2020

“You have to have the right people asking the questions,” said Eric Moore of the Center for African American Health (CAA Health). This is one of the central tenets of the BeHeard Mile High survey panel, an initiative that highlights the importance of trust to successful community-engaged research in ways that amplify the voices of … Read more

Pushing the Boundaries of Engagement in Health

April 30, 2020

At a conference earlier this year, a woman was trying to explain why she had decided not to serve on an influential state health policy panel. For years, she had been an outspoken health advocate; she and her two children are dealing with a rare genetic condition that has given her firsthand knowledge of the … Read more