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Chapter 2. Principles of Community Engagement1

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In developing this primer, the authors drew on their knowledge of the literature, their practice experiences, and the collective experience of their constituencies in the practice of community engagement. These practical experiences, combined with the organizing concepts, models, and frameworks from the literature, which were discussed in Chapter 1, suggested several underlying principles that can assist health professionals, researchers, policy makers, and community leaders in planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating community engagement efforts. Because community processes can be complex, challenging, and labor-intensive, however, these health professionals and others require dedicated resources to help ensure their success. In addition, efforts to engage communities require skill sets that leaders may not have previously developed. Thoughtful consideration of the nine principles laid out in this chapter and what is needed to put them into action will help readers to form effective partnerships. The principles are organized in three sections: items to consider prior to beginning engagement, what is necessary for engagement to occur, and what to consider for engagement to be successful. Each principle covers a broad practice area of engagement, often addressing multiple issues.

1 This chapter was adapted from the first edition of Principles of Community Engagement.

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