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The AAMC Accelerating Health Equity, Advancing through Discovery (AHEAD) initiative seeks to identify, evaluate, and disseminate effective and replicable AAMC-member institution practices that improve community health and reduce health inequities.

Learn about AAMC medical research initiatives and publications.

Community Engagement Resources

What is Community Engagement?

According to CDC, community engagement is "the process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the well-being of those people. It is a powerful vehicle for bringing about environmental and behavioral changes that will improve the health of the community and its members. It often involves partnerships and coalitions that help mobilize resources and influence systems, change relationships among partners, and serve as catalysts for changing policies, programs, and practices.”

In Academic Medical Centers this process of community engagement can include:

  • Creating health equity-focused community improvement activities including economic and infrastructure development
  • Developing experiential learning opportunities for medical students that are responsive to community needs and assets
  • Developing a diverse and culturally competent healthcare workforce through K-12 and college pipeline programs
  • Ensuring research questions, protocols, analyses, and dissemination efforts are co-developed with community partners
  • Enriching the community health needs assessments and implementation plans conducted and developed by not for profit teaching hospitals

Community Engagement Continuum thumbnail

The spectrum of community involvement ranges from providing the community with information to strong bidirectional relationships between community members and academic members.
View the Community Engagement Continuum

Below is a selection of resources developed by the AAMC and national experts to enhance community engagement at medical schools and teaching hospitals. We welcome suggestions for additional resources. Please submit to

AAMC Community Engagement Resources

Community Engagement Toolkits

Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service

AAMC AHEAD Cycle 4 Community Engagement 101 Webinar

National Community Engagement Resources

Health Equity Topics


The AAMC Collaborative for Health Equity: Act, Research, Generate Evidence (CHARGE) brings together investigators, clinicians, and community partners so that they may learn, share, and improve upon the design, conduct, and implementation of research that aims to eliminate inequities in health and health care.

Health Equity Systems Approach

The nation’s academic medical centers and their public health, community-based, and other partners are working to achieve health equity by improving population and community health and by making health care safer and more accessible, affordable, and equitable.

Contact Health Equity Research and Policy Staff

Philip M. Alberti, PhD
Senior Director, Health Equity Research and Policy

Karey M. Sutton, PhD
Director, Health Equity Research Workforce 

Funmi Makinde, MPH, CHES
Health Equity Research Analyst

Sarah Piepenbrink
Program Specialist