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At the AAMC Center for Health Justice, we believe that the process of engagement (how we work with communities) is just as important as the product (what comes out of this work).

Dodgeball teammates and families posing for portrait after game

Centering our work in community wisdom and expertise is a fundamental commitment of the Center. One way the center engages and learns from diverse communities across the US is through our AAMC Collaborative for Health Equity: Act, Research, Generate Evidence (CHARGE).

According to the National Academy of Medicine, “when health and health care policies and programs designed to improve outcomes are not driven by community interests, concerns, assets, and needs, these efforts remain disconnected from the people they intend to serve. This disconnect ultimately limits the influence and effectiveness of interventions, policies, and programs.” To create more effective programs requires meaningful community engagement, where organizations work collaboratively with those who are most affected by health inequities and defer to how, when, and to what degree those communities want to be engaged. A holistic model of health systems transformation holds this process of community engagement at its core.

Nested model of health equity through transformed systems for health with community engagement at the center. Source: National Academy of Medicine. Assessing Meaningful Community Engagement: A Conceptual Model to Advance Health Equity through Transformed Systems for Health. Washington DC: Organizing Committee for Assessing Meaningful Community Engagement; 2022.

Learn more about how community engagement can be operationalized across the missions of academic medicine.