In this episode, Pritpal sets the scene on what is community power and why it is so important. He mentions the following:
- Control and Health: An Epidemiological perspective: A 1990 book chapter by S. Leonard Syme
- How could differences in ‘control over destiny’ lead to socio-economic inequalities in health? A synthesis of theories and pathways in the living environment: A 2016 research article by Margaret Whitehead and colleagues
- Social determinants of health: WHO’s definition that mentions the “forces and systems” that shape daily life
- Health Equity Guide: A project of Human Impact Partners (Oakland, CA, USA) showcasing strategic practices to confront the power imbalances that are at the root of health inequities
- Power, control, communities and health inequalities I: theories, concepts and analytical frameworks: A 2021 research article by Jennie Popay and colleagues that describes the inward and outward gaze of community power
- Communities of Opportunity: The project in King County (Washington State, USA) in which the health department is working towards making itself accountable to communities
Pritpal’s full definition of community power builds on the work of the USC Dornsife Equity Research Institute (see below) and was developed with Anthony Iton and Robert K Ross of the California Endowment. It is the ability of people facing similar circumstances to develop, sustain, and grow an organized base of people who act together through democratic structures to set agendas, shift public discourse, influence who makes decisions, and cultivate ongoing relationships of mutual accountability with decision makers who change systems and advance health equity.
- For an excellent discussion of systemic and structural bias (such as racism), see this 2022 article by Paula A Braveman and colleagues
- For a deeper understanding of community power-building, including a definition of base building, see this 2020 report by the USC Dornsife Equity Research Institute (second report on the page)
Get in touch with us any time by sending an email to [email protected].
In this series, Michael is exploring community power — what it is, how it’s linked to better outcomes, such as health, and what its limitations are. The series is in collaboration with Pritpal S Tamber, a researcher and consultant on the link between community power and health.