Altarum and Public Agenda Partner to Strengthen Communities’ Ability to Shape Statewide Health Policy Through Engagement 

May 01, 2020

Altarum is working with Public Agenda to lead a new initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called Community Voices for Healthwhich will help organizations in six states increase engagement of community residents so they can be more effective participants in shaping a health system that addresses their needs. 

Communities need strong connections and stable systems of engagement to deal with both immediate threats and long-term challenges to public healthCommunity Voices for Health aims to build stronger engagement infrastructure to ensure that all voices—particularly those within marginalized and underserved communities—contribute to shaping policy decisions that affect health. 

The initiative provides up to $3.96 million in funding, with each state organization receiving over $600,000 for the span of the 30-month initiative. The six grant recipients are:  

Altarum and Public Agenda will provide strategic support and technical assistance to the six grantees, helping them assess state policy and public opinion, pilot elements to build engagement, work with state policymakers, identify community health priorities, develop engagement research best practices, and build partnerships and collaborations. 

The initiative also will build toolkits and guides to help communities build engagement infrastructure. Two resources are already available: The Community Voices for Health Guide, which covers methodologies in strengthening, deepening, and diversifying engagement in the health care system, and Community Voices for Health: A Deeper Dive into Collaborative Researcher-Community Projects, which highlights a full spectrum of community-engaged research activities. 

The coronavirus pandemic underscores the need for initiatives like Community Voices for Health to influence statewide responses to public health challenges to ensure they are grounded in needs and priorities of the people these systems were meant to serve, especially the most vulnerable who are disproportionately harmed by public health and economic crises. If you’re interested in learning more about the initiative, contact Altarum at or sign up for our newsletter here. 


Altarum is a nonprofit organization that works with federal and state agencies and foundations to design and implement solutions to improve the health of individuals with fewer financial resources and populations disenfranchised by the health care system. We achieve measurable results by combining our expertise in public health and health care delivery with technology, workforce training and continuing education, applied research, and technical assistance. Our innovative solutions lead to better health for beneficiaries and better value for payers.