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Evaluating Community Engagement in an Academic Medical Center

Szilagyi, Peter G. MD, MPH; Shone, Laura P. DrPH, MSW; Dozier, Ann M. RN, PhD; Newton, Gail L.; Green, Theresa PhD, MBA; Bennett, Nancy M. MD, MS

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000190
Articles
Abstract

From the perspective of academic medical centers (AMCs), community engagement is a collaborative process of working toward mutually defined goals to improve the community’s health, and involves partnerships between AMCs, individuals, and entities representing the surrounding community. AMCs increasingly recognize the importance of community engagement, and recent programs such as Prevention Research Centers and Clinical and Translational Science Awards have highlighted community engagement activities. However, there is no standard or accepted metric for evaluating AMCs’ performance and impact of community engagement activities.

In this article, the authors present a framework for evaluating AMCs’ community engagement activities. The framework includes broad goals and specific activities within each goal, wherein goals and activities are evaluated using a health services research framework consisting of structure, process, and outcome criteria. To illustrate how to use this community engagement evaluation framework, the authors present specific community engagement goals and activities of the University of Rochester Medical Center to (1) improve the health of the community served by the AMC; (2) increase the AMC’s capacity for community engagement; and (3) increase generalizable knowledge and practices in community engagement and public health.

Using a structure-process-outcomes framework, a multidisciplinary team should regularly evaluate an AMC’s community engagement program with the purpose of measurably improving the performance of the AMC and the health of its surrounding community.

Author Information

Dr. Szilagyi is professor of pediatrics and chief, Division of General Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

Dr. Shone is associate professor, holding appointments in pediatrics, clinical nursing, and the Center for Community Health, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

Dr. Dozier is associate professor of public health sciences and clinical nursing, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

Ms. Newton is director of community health partnerships, Center for Community Health, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

Dr. Green is director of policy and education, Center for Community Health, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

Dr. Bennett is professor of medicine and public health sciences, director, Center for Community Health, and director of community engagement, Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

Funding/Support: This study was funded in part by a Clinical Translational Science Award from the National Center to Advance Translational Science (UL1 TR000042; KL2 TR000095; TL1 TR000096).

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: Reported as not applicable.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Szilagyi, Box 777, Department of Pediatrics, Strong Memorial Hospital, 601 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, NY 14642; telephone: (585) 275-5798; e-mail: peter_szilagyi@urmc.rochester.edu.

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges