Community Voices for Health

Community Voices for Health is an 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 six states 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

No Silver Bullet to Community Engagement—Developing a Unique Power Analysis

February 23, 2023

February 23, 2023 In the third blog post of our “There is No Silver Bullet to Community Engagement” series, we will discuss and unpack the role that power plays in designing transformative community engagement practices. We’ll also pay particular attention as it relates to shifting policy and pitching policy that aligns with the communities needs. … Read more

No Silver Bullet to Community Engagement—Building Upon What Already Exists

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023 Our previous blog post challenged the request for quick fixes to community engagement challenges that practitioners in this industry often receive. This entry into the series will dive into the importance of designing transformative engagement processes through building upon what exists and through deep relationship building.  The first tenant in the Community … Read more

There’s No Silver Bullet to Community Engagement—But Centering Equity Is the Start

December 21, 2022

December 21, 2022 Through the Community Voices for Health (CVH) initiative, we at Public Agenda, a research-to-action nonprofit organization, and our partner Altarum, a nonprofit that helps federal and state health agencies and foundations improve health equity and outcomes through better systems of care, are working closely with community-based organizations in four states to build … Read more

Creating Space for Youth in Nevada to Express, Lead, and Imagine

July 29, 2022

July 29, 2022 The pandemic affected individuals, households, and communities in ways never previously experienced. One of the groups most adversely affected by the pandemic were youth. As the American Psychological Association noted last year, “Children and youth have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in unique ways. Disrupted academic schedules, reduced social interaction, and … Read more

Community Voices for Health in Indiana: A Long Journey, A Long Road Ahead

July 29, 2022

July 29, 2022 When the Community Justice and Mediation Center (CJAM) was awarded a Community Voices for Health (CVH) grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in early 2020, they knew that the first step of creating lasting change in health policy is changing the public engagement process in Monroe County, Indiana. Located an hour … Read more

Putting Community Health Workers on the Map in Georgia

July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022 Community health workers (CHW) in Georgia have been essential in bridging the gap between patients and providers. While distrust is woven within many facets of medicine, CHWs help to unravel fear and apprehension as trusted members of their community. Natasha Taylor, Director of Policy and Access with Georgia Watch, notes that CHWs … Read more

Strengthening Leadership in the African-American Community: Advancing a Culture of Health in Colorado

July 28, 2022

July 28, 2022 “We have some super enthusiastic folks that are already automatically taking initiative,” says Jeff Campbell, referring to participants of the People’s Health Empowerment Project (PHEP). PHEP is a collaboration-focused leadership program created by BeHeard Colorado, a Community Voices for Health (CVH) partnership between the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and the Center for … Read more

Strengthening Community Health Planning During COVID-19 in New Mexico

July 8, 2022

July 8, 2022 The rapid spread of COVID-19 overwhelmed many healthcare institutions, putting local communities and healthcare providers in a precarious situation. New Mexico’s statewide network of health councils*, tasked with community health planning, were one the first responders to the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. The New Mexico Culture of Health initiative, led by … Read more

Organizing Citizen-Centered Conversations for Health Advocacy Efforts in Pennsylvania

March 28, 2022

March 28, 2022 The lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have cast a shadow over social and economic progress throughout the country. Hospitals and clinics were one the first industries that faced an increased demand of services, with decreasing capacity to address patients’ needs. Chester County, Pennsylvania, has felt this strain with the closing of … Read more

New Videos Highlight On-the-Ground Work of Community Voices for Health Project

January 26, 2022

January 26, 2022 For over three years, Public Agenda’s Community Voices for Health initiative has been working to strengthen infrastructure for engagement in health. Some of this work has been captured in a series of new videos, created in concert with McCabe Message Partners, detailing some of the on-the-ground work that has been accomplished over the course of this initiative. This work, supported by … Read more