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Principles of Engagement

Engagement is a process for working collaboratively with partners, such as patients, healthcare providers, public health leaders, policymakers, and communities. The Center for Community Health (CCH) embraces the use of many forms of engagement, such as informing, consulting, involving, collaborating, and empowering. These forms of engagement should span research, education, service, and policy change, with the ultimate goal of achieving translatable and sustainable solutions that improve health. Although our approaches may vary, the center endorses five overriding principles of engagement in all that we and others do. These principles, developed in collaboration with CCH partners and collaborators, are the foundation for trusting relationships and sustainable partnerships, ensuring that collaboratively identified goals are achieved in ways that are rewarding for all partners.


  • Meaningfully and mutually working toward partnership’s shared vision
  • Valuing sustained relationships and trust building
  • Developing capacity of all partners


  • Recognizing the validity of diverse perspectives, cultures, priorities, and needs
  • Focusing on community priorities
  • Listening
  • Following through on commitments


  • Sharing power, resources, and decision-making in an agreed-upon manner
  • Building on partner strengths and assets
  • Addressing conflicts with an open mind and commitment to fair resolution


  • Having clear, frequent, honest, and open communications
  • Making the goals and priorities of all collaborators explicit
  • Having a clear decision making process
  • Using language understood by all partners


  • Findings are shared with partners and collaborators in ways they can use them
  • Leading to meaningful/sustainable outcomes that are tangible, feasible, and relevant to improving community health
  • Focusing on potential benefit for all partners

For a pdf version of our principles, you can download them here.

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