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

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