Building partnerships with community members to advance public health

Tools, questions, and guidance to start a “community ambassador” program at your organization

Community & consumer engagement Strengthening ecosystems of care COVID response SDOH & health equity

No one understands the needs and assets of a community better than community members themselves.

This toolkit offers a framework and step-by-step guidance for developing a community ambassador/liaison program, in which members of the community an organization serves are trained and compensated to share important public health messages with their community and to bring feedback and concerns they hear back to the organization.

Community ambassador programs create direct avenues to include people with lived experience in problem-solving and innovation that help keep their families and neighbors healthy. Community ambassadors are trusted messengers who can be deployed quickly to spread accurate information and combat dangerous myths.

The contents of this toolkit are based on our experience developing the Camden Coalition’s Community Ambassador program, which launched in 2021. Our Community Ambassadors helped share accurate information on testing, vaccination, and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as conducting outreach around Medicaid re-enrollment, behavioral health, lead paint abatement, and more. By sharing back what they hear from their neighbors and families, they serve as a critical bridge between Camden residents and our city’s public health leaders.

Explore the toolkit and supplemental materials below.

How we have formed partnerships with community members

Community Advisory Committee

Community Advisory Committee

A group of Camden residents and/or former program participants who act as an official part of our organization’s governance structure.

Community Ambassadors

Community Ambassadors

Trusted community members tasked to help share important public health information and answer questions from their networks of community residents and leaders, while also relaying information and feedback from the community back to the Camden Coalition to help guide the direction of our work.

National Consumer Scholars

National Consumer Scholars

Consumer leaders and advocates with lived experience of complex health and social needs from across the country that take part in leadership development activities and help shape the field of complex care.

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