It’s well-established that treating disease and reducing risk factors is not enough to sustainably improve health. What’s missing is whether people have a sense of control over their lives, also known as agency.
Community Agency & Health is the inaugural symposium of Bridging Health & Community, an organization dedicated to transforming how we approach health so that it goes beyond health care and public health to include fostering community agency.
The Need to Act Differently
To foster community agency, the health sector must adopt, and adapt to, a more inclusive and participatory approach than it has been used to. This requires participating in a sustained process for deriving and implementing solutions together with other sectors and community stakeholders, including residents. The success of this collaborative process depends on mutual respect for each other’s knowledge and perspectives, empathy for each other’s day-to-day realities, and a willingness to share decision-making and to find ways to work within each other’s frameworks for accountability.
Beyond Cross Sector Collaboration
The symposium goes beyond the usual framings of the social determinants of health, cross-sector collaboration or systems change, and is open to anyone interested in health and willing to explore the well-documented potential of community agency.
- Carl Baty (Rounding the Bases)
- David Chavis (Community Science)
- Jim Hester (Population Health Systems)
- Len Syme (UC Berkeley)
- Phil Thompson (MIT)
- Pritpal S Tamber (Bridging Health & Community).
There will be two case studies from organisations fostering community agency to improve health:
- Building Healthy Communities by The California Endowment
- Bronx Healthy Buildings Program by the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative.
And there will be six practical, small-group breakouts:
- Building Relationships Between Communities & Health
- Using Participatory Research and Evaluation
- Creating Leadership Capacity for Long-term Change
- Connecting Federal to Local
- Discovering Business Models
- Communicating the Value of Partnerships.
For more information, including about the symposium’s approach as well as its Planning Committee and editorial partners, see our webpage.