Special Issue "Community Participation in Health Promotion: Challenges and Successes"

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Annemarie Wagemakers
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Health and Society, Social Sciences Group, Wageningen University & Research, P.O. Box 8130, 6700 EW Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: participatory action reserach; mixed methods; community health promotion; intersectoral collaboration; disadvantaged groups; citizen science; public health policy; physcial activity; sexual and reproductive health; nutrition
Dr. Lea den Broeder
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 1 3570 BA Bilthoven, the Netherlands
2 Faculty of Health, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Tafelbergweg 51, 1105 BD Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Interests: community health; health promotion; neighborhood; disadvantaged groups; urban environment; urban spatial planning; resident engagement; citizen science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue seeks to report the challenges and successes of community participation in health promotion programs, research, and policies, with the aim to advance our understanding of best practices and to support future health promotion development.

Community participation is a key element of effective health promotion, ensuring it adequately addresses the needs of community members. ‘Whole-of Society’ approaches that include all community and other stakeholders are broadly advocated. Community members hold important local knowledge that may feed into health promotion programs, research, and policy, contributing to its effectiveness. Equally importantly, community participation has the potential to enhance health literacy, empowerment, and social cohesion, amongst others.

In health promotion, professionals (practitioners, researchers, policymakers) often struggle to engage (sufficient) community members. In the cases where community members participate, their perspectives are usually collected, but often, levels of community participation in subsequent activities remain low. For communities, it is not always clear how their input was used. Insight into best practices, explaining what works, how it works, and in which context, is needed to improve community participation in health promotion. In addition, the values underlying community participation need to be explored and explicated.

We invite you to submit papers about community participation in health promotion that address issues, such as effective approaches for community participation; the societal impact (e.g., health literacy, empowerment, social cohesion) of community participation; practical and ethical challenges; and the role of professionals, researchers, and policymakers. The settings and situations can be diverse, for example, urban spatial planning or community health and welfare programs.

Dr. Annemarie Wagemakers
Dr. Lea den Broeder
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • community participation
  • health promotion
  • whole of society approach
  • urban spatial planning
  • empowerment
  • health literacy
  • social cohesion
  • professional skills
  • ethics

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
‘Improving Health through Reducing Stress’: Parents’ Priorities in the Participatory Development of a Multilevel Family Health Programme in a Low-Income Neighbourhood in The Netherlands
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 8145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18158145 - 31 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1089
Abstract
In order to reduce health inequities, a socio-ecological approach and community engagement are needed to develop sustained interventions with a positive effect on the health of disadvantaged groups. This qualitative study was part of the development phase of a community health promotion programme. [...] Read more.
In order to reduce health inequities, a socio-ecological approach and community engagement are needed to develop sustained interventions with a positive effect on the health of disadvantaged groups. This qualitative study was part of the development phase of a community health promotion programme. The study aimed to provide insight into the perceptions of parents in a disadvantaged neighbourhood about health, and their priorities for the community health programme. It also described the process of integrating these perceptions in the development of a multilevel plan for this programme. Participatory methods were applied to enable the engagement of all groups involved. Ten parents from a low-income neighbourhood in the Netherlands participated in five panel sessions. Parents’ priorities for improving family health were reducing chronic stress and not so much healthy eating and physical activity. They prioritised solutions to reduce their financial stress, to provide a safe place for their children to meet and play and to establish good quality communication with authorities. The programme development process resulted in objectives in which both parents and professionals were willing to invest, such as a safe playground for children. This study shows that target population engagement in health programme development is possible and valuable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Participation in Health Promotion: Challenges and Successes)
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Article
“We Don’t Assume That Everyone Has the Same Idea About Health, Do We?” Explorative Study of Citizens’ Perceptions of Health and Participation to Improve Their Health in a Low Socioeconomic City District
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 4958; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17144958 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1332
Abstract
In community health promotion programs that aim to reduce health inequities, citizen participation is recommended, as it strengthens citizens’ active involvement and has a positive impact on health. A prerequisite for citizen participation is recognizing and incorporating citizens’ perceptions of health. Therefore, this [...] Read more.
In community health promotion programs that aim to reduce health inequities, citizen participation is recommended, as it strengthens citizens’ active involvement and has a positive impact on health. A prerequisite for citizen participation is recognizing and incorporating citizens’ perceptions of health. Therefore, this study aimed to explore these perceptions and actions needed to improve the health of citizens living in a low socioeconomic city district. Concept mapping was used to actively engage community members as part of the action research method. Eleven community groups (n = 89 citizens) together with community workers participated in the study. Participants in all groups agreed that health entails more than the absence of disease, and therefore it is a multidimensional concept. Social relations, physical activity, positive life attitude, healthy eating, and being in control were important perceptions about health. Although the participants were aware of the relation between lifestyle and health, actions to improve health included doing things together, collaboration, self-confidence, focusing on possibilities, and socially shared meanings. Creating a supportive environment to address health behavior appeared to be the most important action for citizens to facilitate behavior change. Concept mapping helped to involve citizens and provided community workers with valuable information to shape the program together with citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Participation in Health Promotion: Challenges and Successes)
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Article
The Power of Trading: Exploring the Value of a Trading Shop as a Health-Promoting Community Engagement Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4678; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134678 - 29 Jun 2020
Viewed by 685
Abstract
Involving and engaging vulnerable communities from the very beginning is important if we wish to enhance general well-being. With a focus on equal partnership with low-socioeconomic status (SES) families, a Trading Shop in Vaals was developed as a community engagement initiative. In the [...] Read more.
Involving and engaging vulnerable communities from the very beginning is important if we wish to enhance general well-being. With a focus on equal partnership with low-socioeconomic status (SES) families, a Trading Shop in Vaals was developed as a community engagement initiative. In the current study, we focused on the participation process, from preparation to sustaining the Trading Shop, in order to define whether the Trading Shop can be successful in engaging families through focusing specially on their needs and perceived positive health. A formative case study design was carried out to monitor, evaluate, and timely adjust the developments within the Trading Shop by using participatory action research. The Trading Shop was monitored from its preparation to its opening, as well as during the start and the steps taken towards continuation in the form of municipal policy. The results showed one central theme during all phases: the optimal navigation between top-down support from professionals and bottom-up developments among the volunteers in the Trading Shop. With the input from both approaches, it was possible to create an optimal environment for the volunteers to achieve personal development. The inclusivity and accessibility of the Trading Shop as a community engagement initiative offered the opportunity to volunteers to enhance their needs, realizing personal growth and development of their talents in several positive health domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Participation in Health Promotion: Challenges and Successes)
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Article
Successfully Recruiting Adults with a Low Socioeconomic Position into Community-Based Lifestyle Programs: A Qualitative Study on Expert Opinions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2764; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082764 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1451
Abstract
We explored experts’ perceived challenges and success factors in the recruitment of adults with a low socioeconomic position (SEP) for participation in community-based lifestyle modification programs. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 11 experienced project coordinators, based on a topic list that included experiences [...] Read more.
We explored experts’ perceived challenges and success factors in the recruitment of adults with a low socioeconomic position (SEP) for participation in community-based lifestyle modification programs. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 11 experienced project coordinators, based on a topic list that included experiences with recruitment, perceived barriers and success factors, and general views on recruitment strategies. Results revealed challenges related to the context of the program (e.g., limited program resources), psychosocial barriers of the participants (e.g., mistrust or skepticism), practical barriers (e.g., low literacy or having other priorities), and reasons to decline participation (e.g., lack of interest or motivation). Success factors were related to securing beneficial contextual and program-related factors (e.g., multi-layered recruitment strategy), establishing contact with the target group (e.g., via existing networks, community key-members), methods to increase engagement (e.g., personal approach and involvement of the target group in the program process) and making participation easier (e.g., providing transport), and providing various types of incentives. Concluding, the group of participants with low SEP covers a wide spectrum of individuals. Therefore, multiple recruitment strategies at multiple layers should be employed, and tailored. The lessons learned of those with hands-on experiences will help to enhance recruitment in future programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Participation in Health Promotion: Challenges and Successes)
Article
Social Relations, Community Engagement and Potentials: A Qualitative Study Exploring Resident Engagement in a Community-Based Health Promotion Intervention in a Deprived Social Housing Area
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2341; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072341 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1255
Abstract
Emerging evidence points towards a lower quality of life, fragile social relations and suboptimal health behavior and status of residents living in social housing areas characterized by ethnic diversity and socioeconomic deprivation. Community-based health promotion interventions developed in collaboration with the target group [...] Read more.
Emerging evidence points towards a lower quality of life, fragile social relations and suboptimal health behavior and status of residents living in social housing areas characterized by ethnic diversity and socioeconomic deprivation. Community-based health promotion interventions developed in collaboration with the target group and adjusted to the local context can affect the acceptance of and engagement in such interventions. However, few studies have investigated the potential of community-based interventions in deprived social housing areas. This study explores residents’ perspectives on engagement in a community-based health promotion intervention focusing on enhancing social relations. The study builds on qualitative methods including participant observations combined with pre- and post-intervention interviews with a selected group of residents (n = 9). Data were thematically analyzed with focuses on participation in an everyday life context, concepts of othering, and territorial stigmatization. Engagement in the intervention was motivated by the need to establish and enhance social relations, and to explore the world outside the housing area. However, barriers including cultural and language differences among residents, and competing contextual factors, challenged engagement. We conclude that participatory community-based interventions have a potential to enhance social relations in deprived social housing areas. However, adequate support and efforts to overcome the identified barriers are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Participation in Health Promotion: Challenges and Successes)
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