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.