Transforming how outreach workers engage community members

Client: NYC Department of Health

Partner: TYTHEdesign

The Challenge

Community members do not understand the agency's role in the community and are not engaged in all of the programs offered

The Outcome

An outreach team realigned around a cohesive engagement plan and armed with a toolkit of practical strategies

The NYC Department of Health's East Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Center is an innovative hub of co-located health services and community-based service providers. The Center uses a holistic approach to primary care and connects residents to neighborhood-based social services. However, each program run by the Center has conducted community engagement independently.

As a result, there are often missed opportunities to equally promote all of the programs offered by the Neighborhood Health Action Center and help community members understand which services might meet their diverse health needs.

Public School worked with the East Harlem community engagement team to bring together all 40 community health workers for a series of trainings on leading productive dialogues with community members in a range of situations.

The first session focused on community engagement as a form of two-way dialogue and provided staff with the opportunity to reflect on their current outreach strategies, as well as learn tools for leading conversations with community members through verbal cues. During the second session, participants were taught how to manage difficult conversations and practiced these skills through intensive role-play based on real experiences and situations.