Technical Assistance - Community Forums

A forum can be a two-way street where information and perspective from the public is shared with local health decision makers and where information and perspective held by the host-organization can be disseminated to the public. A community forum can be used as part of a strategic planning process and/or part of a community education process. As part of the former, it can be used to attain perspective and insight from the general public, to generate interest and support for proposed actions, and to locate volunteers. As part of a community education process, forums can be used to share information, to explain actions, and to clarify misinformation. A forum is an effective way to initiate a community dialog; however, it requires management with a defined focus and rules of conduct and order.

Benefits to the Hospital
A structured community forum is an effective way for a provider to connect with its community. It conveys to the public that the organization is interested in their opinions, their advice, and their ideas on important healthcare issues. Combined with a presentation from the Speakers Bureau a community forum can create an effective dialogue. It also allows the provider to exercise leadership, increase visibility, and facilitate constructive change.