The approach has three essential features:

  1. High quality community engagement that builds on and expands existing local efforts, centers equity, and involves significant numbers of underserved and marginalized people in meaningful ways.
  2. Community-engaged research efforts to inform engagement and policy
  3. Sustainable communication channels between policymakers and residents to craft solutions for community-identified health priorities

Incorporating these elements should result in community engagement efforts that are:

  • Inclusive and sustained, by expanding engagement techniques and involving previously marginalized communities
  • Informed, through community-engaged research
  • Influential, by ensuring strong pathways between community members and policymakers

This guide to the CVH approach is a resource for those working to ensure that our health policies and systems are responsive to the needs of all of the people they are meant to serve. It is a collection of tools, approaches, and resources to support the efforts of community-based organizations and networks, local government officials and health policy leaders, and others involved in building inclusive, responsive community health ecosystems.

The CVH approach is informed by on-the-ground work of community-based partners in six states—chosen through a competitive process—to implement projects using a common framework focused on equity-centered, inclusive community engagement; community-engaged research; and communication and sustainability. Each partner received financial support and technical assistance to undertake their projects.

Public Agenda worked in partnership with Altarum to develop the approach and support state-based implementation efforts in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.

Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub is a technical assistance and research center that supports consumer advocacy organizations working at the state level, with the goal of advancing evidence-based policies to make the healthcare system more equitable, affordable, and patient-centered. The Hub is housed within Altarum, a nonprofit health services research organization delivering solutions that advance the health of marginalized and publicly-insured populations.

Through this toolkit we share concepts and strategies for meaningful incorporation of community priorities into health policy that were drawn from our learning. This is not a step-by-step guide, but a starting place for those who want to learn more about how to use the CVH approach to advance health policy. It is intended for iterative use.

The toolkit is a product of the work by Public Agenda, Altarum, and Community Voices for Health grantees funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Support for this initiative was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In this Toolkit

Community Voices for Health is an initiative supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with technical assistance provided by Public Agenda in partnership with Altarum.