Community Engagement Interventions to Improve Health Equity

What is a Collection?

Playbook Collections explore interventions that address the needs of people with complex needs by curating available peer-reviewed research, case studies, and tools. Although not exhaustive, Collections evolve as new and promising research and other resources are available.

Across the nation, health care payers, providers, and policymakers are seeking ways to engage community members to better understand barriers to good health and invest in programs that better meet community needs. Medicaid enrollees and people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid disproportionately experience high rates of complex health and social needs. Engaging with this population can positively impact health outcomes, lead to more culturally appropriate interventions, and empower communities that have been historically disenfranchised.

While robust evidence exists on the benefits of direct patient engagement for people with complex needs, there is limited evidence on engaging patients and community members in organizational or policy decision-making and co-design. Spurred by growing recognition that involving people most impacted by health disparities will advance health equity, many health care stakeholders are seeking to enhance their community engagement processes. In addition, recently proposed federal regulations will likely expand opportunities for people with lived experience to inform state Medicaid program design and policy decision-making, creating further need to understand promising strategies and build capacity in this area.

Health care stakeholders, including policymakers, health plans, and providers, can use this Better Care Playbook Collection to understand emerging evidence and best practices for implementing community engagement interventions to better meet community needs and improve health equity.

What are emerging evidence and best practices for designing community engagement strategies in health care?

Following are summaries of peer-reviewed research and reports on recent community engagement approaches. Many of these resources summarize qualitative data on process outcomes and detail promising approaches for improving community engagement initiatives, including at the policy and program levels.

What does effective community engagement look like in practice?

Below, find on-the-ground perspectives and experiences on implementing community engagement initiatives that drive health care system improvements. Detailed case studies can help inform stakeholders interested in implementing similar approaches.

How can my organization implement similar community engagement approaches?

Following are practical tools that health plans, policymakers, health system leaders, and other interested stakeholders can use to develop community engagement initiatives that foster program, organization, or policy change and center community voice.