One precondition for successfully addressing health disparities is to build on local community-based initiatives and on the needs and perspectives of local residents. Incorporating the views, experience and priorities of residents, especially from the most disadvantaged and marginalized communities, into planning and resource allocation processes is vital to regional health planning and delivery that can effectively focus on health disparities. Diversity and equity-driven community engagement is one vital enabler of successful local and regional action on health equity.
Here are two interesting resources. The first is a recent handbook from CPRN (the Canadian Policy Research Network) on citizen engagement. It reviews several health examples, including the extensive community engagement strategy developed by Vancouver Coastal Health.
The British health research and knowledge exchange foundation NICE conducted a systematic review of the impact of community engagement on addressing social determinants of health in 2007.