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Public Health Speaks: Public health’s role in community organizing

Cette ressource est également disponible en français.

“Our systems are entrenched in such rigid ways that movement will not happen without having people who are courageous and honest enough to push past those boundaries. Community organizers are those voices” (p. 3).  

Community organizing plays a crucial role in health equity by building community power and enabling communities to identify and address their needs. Partnering with community-organizing groups to apply community-organizing strategies is an important area for public health practice in Canada.

To explore this emerging area, the NCCDH convened two experts to discuss public health’s role in community organizing:

  • Samiya Abdi, Executive Director, Black Health Education Collaborative (at time of interview)
  • Dr. Monika Dutt, Medical Officer of Health Central and Western Health, Newfoundland and Labrador (at time of interview)

In this resource, the contributors describe their experiences and reflect on the benefits and barriers of working in partnership with community-organizing groups as public health practitioners. They also share practical tips to facilitate work with community organizers and outline the necessary skills to collaborate effectively.

Use this resource to:

  • Develop understanding of community organizing and its relevance for public health practice
  • Facilitate discussion about the roles of advocacy and activism within public health
  • Guide engagement of community organizers to advance health equity


Related resources:

Let's Talk: Redistributing power to advance health equity

Building community power for health equity: A curated list

Mind the Disruption: Season 1

Mind the Disruption: Season 2


National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2024). Public Health Speaks: Public health’s role in community organizing. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.  

Tags: Community engagement, Intersectoral action, Power, Document, Report / Document, Public Health Speaks