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Community Organizing and Community Building for Health and Welfare

Edited by Meredith Minkler

Publication Year: 2012

The third edition of Community Organizing and Community Building for Healthand Welfare provides new and more established ways to approach community building and organizing, from collaborating with communities on assessment and issue selection to using the power of coalition building, media advocacy, and social media to enhance the effectiveness of such work.


With a strong emphasis on cultural relevance and humility, this collection offers a wealth of case studies in areas ranging from childhood obesity to immigrant worker rights to health care reform. A “tool kit” of appendixes includes guidelines for assessing coalition effectiveness, exercises for critical reflection on our own power and privilege, and training tools such as “policy bingo.” From former organizer and now President Barack Obama to academics and professionals in the fields of public health, social work, urban planning, and community psychology, the book offers a comprehensive vision and on-the-ground examples of the many ways community building and organizing can help us address some of the most intractable health and social problems of our times.


Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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p. xiii-xiii


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pp. xv-xvii

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Part One: Introduction

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pp. 1-4

Public health leader Bill Foege is fond of telling the story of a man who goes into a store and doesn’t steal anything, but changes all the price tags. As Foege suggests, . . .

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1 Introduction to CommunityOrganizing and Community Building

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pp. 5-26

When former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani asked disparagingly during the 2008 primary campaign, “What’s a community . . .

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2 Why Organize?: Problems and Promise in the Inner City

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pp. 27-31

Over the past five years, I’ve often had a difficult time explaining my profession to folks. Typical is a remark a public school administrative aide made to me . . .

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Part Two: Contextual Frameworks and Approaches

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pp. 33-36

Over twenty years ago, political scientist Richard Couto (1990) pointed out that “because Americans have so little sense of community, we pay a great deal of . . .

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3 Improving Health through Community Organization and Community Building: Perspectives from Health Education and Social Work

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pp. 37-58

Although health education and social work professionals have developed and adapted numerous approaches and change strategies in recent years, the . . .

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4 Contrasting Organizing Approaches: The “Alinsky Tradition” and Freirian Organizing Approaches

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pp. 59-77

Community organizing efforts across the country and the globe reflect a range of models with different philosophies and strategies for systematically bringing . . .

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5 Community Building Practice: An Expanded Conceptual Framework

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pp. 78-90

Note from Cheryl A. Hyde: In the original version of this chapter, Walter (1997) argued that community needed to be understood as more than simply a geographic . . .

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Part Three: Building Effective Partnerships and Anticipating and Addressing Ethical Challenges

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pp. 91-94

One of the most important parts of the professional’s role in community organizing and other aspects of community practice involves building and maintaining effective . . .

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6 Community, Community Development, and the Forming of Authentic Partnerships: Some Critical Reflections

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pp. 95-109

It is hard to be critical of community when one spends most of the day working in the stuffy cubicles of a government building or in the isolated cubbyhole offices . . .

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7 Ethical Issues in Community Organizing and Capacity Building

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pp. 110-129

Fields such as public health and social work may be described as “an inescapably moral enterprise[s],” concerned as they are with determining what we as societies . . .

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8 Building Partnerships between Local Health Departments and Communities: Case Studies in Capacity Building and Cultural Humility

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pp. 130-147

The path toward effective partnerships between local health departments and communities is fraught with obstacles and sometimes seemingly insurmountable . . .

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Part Four: Community Assessment and Issue Selection

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pp. 149-151

Fields such as public health, social work, and city and regional planning typically focus considerable attention on needs assessment and use a variety of methods to . . .

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9 Community Health Assessment or Healthy Community Assessment

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pp. 153-170

Many questions need to be asked concerning the performance of a community health assessment. In this chapter, we discuss a number of these questions and . . .

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10 Mapping Community Capacity

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pp. 171-186

No one can doubt that our older cities these days are deeply troubled places. At the root of the problem are the massive economic shifts that have marked the past . . .

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11 Selecting and “Cutting” the Issue

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pp. 187-210

Issue campaigns are both ends and means. Grassroots community organizations (GCOs) are formed as vehicles to address issues of concern. The process of taking . . .

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Part Five: Community Organizing and Community Building within and across Diverse Groups and Cultures

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pp. 211-214

The past quarter century has witnessed a growing appreciation of the community organizing and community building efforts that are taking place among and with . . .

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12 Education, Participation, and Capacity Building in Community Organizing with Women of Color

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pp. 215-228

The field of community organizing has only recently begun to address the need for an approach to practice that respects and builds on the special challenges . . .

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13 African American Barbershops and Beauty Salons: An Innovative Approach to Reducing Health Disparities through Community Building and Health Education

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pp. 229-265

A goal of Healthy People 2020 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS] 2011), the nation’s road map to achieving health equity, is the . . .

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14 Popular Education, Participatory Research, and Community Organizing with Immigrant Restaurant Workers in San Francisco’s Chinatown: A Case Study

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pp. 266-264

Popular education has been used across diverse settings, cultures, and populations and has been a major influence on the development of social movements . . .

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Part Six: Using the Arts and the Internet as Tools for Community Organizing and Community Building

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pp. 265-268

The past two decades have seen the application of many innovative new tools and approaches that have enriched community building and organizing; some of these, . . .

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15 Creating an Online Strategy to Enhance Effective Community Building and Organizing

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pp. 269-287

Online interactions are such a pervasive part of our society that 92 percent of two-year-olds in the United States have a digital footprint, such as photos posted . . .

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16 Using the Arts and New Mediain Community Organizing and Community Building: An Overview and Case Study from Post-Katrina New Orleans

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pp. 288-304

Community organizing allows people who share a particular geographic space or identity to find shared issues and goals, as well as the resources they can use . . .

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Part Seven: Building, Maintaining, and Evaluating Effective Coalitions and Community Organizing Efforts

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pp. 305-308

Former surgeon general Joycelyn Elders used to say that to the skeptic, a partnership was an unnatural act between nonconsenting adults. And indeed, many of us have . . .

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17 A Coalition Model for Community Action

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pp. 309-328

The development of community coalitions has escalated rapidly over the past thirty years. Thousands of coalitions anchored by government or . . .

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18 Community Organizing for Obesity Prevention in Humboldt Park,Chicago: The Challenges and Successes of Coalition Building across Two Organizing Traditions

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pp. 329-345

As described in chapter 17, community coalitions are particularly useful in confronting complex public health problems that require intervention at multiple . . .

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19 Participatory Approaches to Evaluating Community Organizing and Coalition Building

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pp. 346-365

Evaluation is one of the most challenging and promising issues in community organizing and community building for health and welfare. In recent years, . . .

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Part Eight: Influencing Policy through Community Organizing and Media Advocacy

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pp. 367-370

With its emphasis on community mobilization to bring about change, influencing the policy process would seem a logical area of concern for community organizers in . . .

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20 Using Community Organizing and Community Buildingt o Influence Public Policy

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pp. 371-385

In public health, urban and regional planning, social work, and related fields, a hallmark of community organizing and community building lies in their . . .

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21 Organizing for Health Care Reform: National and State-Level Efforts and Perspectives

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pp. 386-406

This chapter begins with an overview of how constituencies were built and mobilized and how “systems of advocacy” developed that helped make possible . . .

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22 Media Advocacy: A Strategy for Helping Communities Change Policy

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pp. 407-420

The primary tool available to communities for influencing social conditions and creating healthy environments is policy. Policies define the structures and set . . .


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pp. 421-463

About the Contributors

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pp. 465-479


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pp. 481-489

E-ISBN-13: 9780813553146
E-ISBN-10: 0813553148

Page Count: 512
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: Third Edition

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Health promotion.
  • Community health services -- Citizen participation.
  • Community organization.
  • Community development.
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