Final Thoughts

A group of children digging in the dirt.
Cade Martin, 2009. CDC/Public Health Image Library.

It’s Worth It…

Make no mistake, community engagement is important! Effectively engaging with communities can be a labor-intensive effort for everyone that is involved: ATSDR, STLT partners, and community stakeholders.

However, community engagement helps you gain a better understanding of people’s concerns and needs, encourages participation in your work, and promotes the delivery of public health findings that people can use to make health decisions and the adoption of behaviors to protect their health. In addition, community engagement activities can build trust, minimize the negative secondary impacts of a public health response, reduce community stress, and strengthen community resilience.

Community engagement helps to improve public health work when community input and insights are considered in the investigation design, data collection and analysis, health interventions, and information sharing activities. It can also help public health professionals avoid ethical pitfalls and make way for long term partnerships. Finally, effective community engagement can help identify areas for improvement in how research findings are used to bring about change. This insight may ultimately lead to the general public being more receptive to public health work and reaping greater benefits.

Page last reviewed: December 15, 2021