As we face the challenge of building more robust and healthier communities for all Minnesotans, success will depend upon the effort invested in bringing people together, building and nurturing long-term relationships. Multiple benefits will be realized as new individuals and organizations across our communities are included and involved.
Potential benefits to participants include: networking opportunities, access to information and resources, personal recognition, skill enhancement, and a sense of contribution and helpfulness in solving community problems.
Source: CDC/ATSDR, Committee on Community Engagement, 1997 [Attn: Non-MDH link]
Community Engagement Creates Potential
- Focuses on social justice: It is through community engagement that community wisdom and science work in tandem to ensure a more balanced set of political, social, economic and cultural priorities, resulting in shared resources and shared power, thus leading to equity and social justice.
- Helps shape services: Including a broad array of community residents from the beginning of a planning process will help shape services so they are culturally acceptable and more closely meet specific needs.
- Helps build trust: Inviting leadership from community groups will help demonstrate that their participation is valued and that their views will be considered. This can help to build trust, increase communication and create openness to utilizing services.
- Helps with outreach: More residents will feel involved with community activities and decisions and will be able to explain or interpret them positively to others. Spreading the word through this informal approach will improve outreach.
- Connects people and resources: Community engagement efforts improve connections between individuals, community associations, businesses, and churches, which in turn creates greater community "buy-in."
Develops new leaders: Inviting community members and leaders of community groups into planning processes will help in the identification of champions and development of leaders who understand public health issues.
Creates an opportunity for critical reflection: Community engagement processes provide opportunities for cooperative, co-learning experiences, and critical reflection that benefits from community wisdom.