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Community Engagement in Research and Population Health

University of Rochester via Coursera


Welcome to the Community Engagement in Population Health course! As you will learn, the health system is in the midst of a critical transition. The current system is not sustainable with escalating costs, mediocre health outcomes, and unacceptable disparities. This course will first discuss the current system, including definitions of population health and social determinants of health, and how the US compares to other countries on the triple aim –lower cost, better care, and a healthier population. Section 2 will review resources for both population health data and evidence-based public health interventions. Now more than ever, hospitals are addressing community needs through community benefits spending, community health improvement planning, and problem-based research networks. In the final section, the course describes community engagement in practical terms with a discussion of benefits and barriers. Community-based participatory research is presented as an effective way to engage the community in developing solutions to address problems in the health system.


    • Establishing the Need for a New Paradigm -- The current US health care system is broken. In this introductory section, we will explore how the United States compares to other health systems in the world on both cost and health outcomes. We will discuss what is meant by good health, as well as defining the term “population health”. We will discuss what is meant by the American health paradox and how our country’s values have led to social inequities which contribute to substantial health disparities. The current US health system is not sustainable, and solutions can be discovered when we look outside of the health care delivery system for answers.
    • Creating change requires an understanding of population health data. We will begin this section by reviewing data resources, including resources for mapping data to create a visual representation of population health outcomes. We will also discuss some of the ways this data is collected by reviewing public health surveys and common data collection tools. Improving the health system often involves implementing interventions, and just like in medicine, public health interventions should be evidence-based. We will review some resources for evidence-based community health interventions and discuss ways to evaluated and disseminate results that are useful to community members.
    • Engaging the community is important in changing the paradigm and working to improve the US health system as a whole. In this section, we will explore ways in which health care delivery systems are engaging community and addressing community health. This community engagement is federally mandated for non-profit hospitals and health systems through community benefit reporting and community health needs assessments and improvement plans. In addition, the movement towards value based medicine has really motivated health systems to think beyond the walls of the hospital to explore the population’s health.
    • In this section, we will define community-engaged research and apply the principles of effective community engagement to research as well as interventions. Community Engagement takes many forms, some much more reciprocal and collaborative than others. In this interactive discussion, our speakers will discuss the benefits of effective community engagement as well as barriers that are common, and suggestions for alleviating those challenges.

Taught by

Theresa Green


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