Welcome to the Institute for Equity in Birth Outcomes

Engage the Community

Engaging local stakeholders is essential to the success of any public health initiative. True community engagement means involving community members in all activities—from identifying the relevant issues and making decisions about how to address them to evaluating and sharing the results with the community.

Consider using a broad definition of “community” to include not only the community members affected by the initiative, but also those with a broader stake in the outcomes. These stake holders can include academic institutions, educational systems, health insurance companies, the juvenile justice system, faith-based institutions, health care systems, youth coalitions, and fraternal organizations.

Authentic Community Engagement
Vital steps of community engagement

Example from Current EI Teams

Palm Beach County Team

Palm Beach

The following topics will lead you through steps needed to engage the community. Please use the Read More links to learn about each step and for additional resources.

Tell the Story

In the READY section you learned that, when planning to share your data with community members and stakeholders, you must “tell the story”. You also learned that telling the story is more than presenting the local MCH data which you have located and analyzed. Click Read More below for reasons and ideas to tell the story of your local data and intended initiatives.

Purposes for Telling the Story

There are three purposes for telling the story of your local data and intended initiatives.

Steps for telling the story to stakeholders:

Clearly state the problem in terms of observable fact: “infant mortality rate is three times as high among Black mothers as among White mothers,” “prematurity accounts for 80% of Black excess deaths”.

Clearly state directions for prevention actions with the most potential for impact as suggested by local vital records data: “Among Blacks, 21% of prematurity is attributable to higher risk among unmarried mothers, 15% of prematurity is attributable to higher risk among mothers with birth spacing less than 18 months, and 14% of prematurity is attributable to higher risk of mothers in xy neighborhoods .”

Provide examples of hypothesized causal relationships that can explain these findings, and examples of evidence based programs that can address the underlying causes: Make it clear that these are examples, and invite your audience(s) to question and interpret all of this information based on their lived experience or other information they may have. Example interpretation: “Unmarried mothers in our Black community tend to be young women with grandparents in poverty, so we feel that in our community being unmarried is a proxy for intergenerational poverty. Can the data confirm this?” The health department or any stakeholder may provide information (related to the above problems and prevention areas) from multiple sources including local data, local case studies, expert opinion, scientific knowledge, and evaluations of programs/interventions.


This list is by no means exhaustive, and CityMatCH recognizes that many experts and resources exist outside of this list.



Identify Your Champions

champion Champions come in all shapes and sizes, and influence in any number of ways. One thing they all have in common is that they are advocates for an issue, a community, a policy, etc. In the field of public health, a champion will most likely be someone with influence in the health care field, certain communities, or political realm. Your coalition should also think outside the box as there can be champions in the unlikeliest of places and people! To read more about identifying and engaging public health champions, click Read More.

Create a Common Agenda

The Collective Impact approach depends on the cohesiveness of a team. In the SET stage, your coalition will continue to develop  a common agenda, and will revise it with community members as needed. Through this activity, coalition members will learn and understand others’ perspectives on the community or communities most pressing health issues and bring diverse stakeholders to a common mission, set of goals, and measurements toward success. To review the conditions of Collective Impact, click HERE. To discover tools to use with your coalition, click on Read More below.


This list is by no means exhaustive, and CityMatCH recognizes that many experts and resources exist outside of this list.



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