Community Advisory Committee
The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers’ Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a committee of the Board of Trustees of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (Camden Coalition), made up of community members, including former participants of the organization’s care management programs. By incorporating community members in governance through a Community Advisory Committee, the Coalition gains expertise that enables it to improve its programming and relationships, and participants gain a sense of purpose and belonging and contribute to their own health and that of the community. How does this build trustworthiness? This builds patient trust by creating a clear and impactful path for patients to communicate their needs and concerns, and enhances the reliability and consistency of services.
How It Works
The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a committee of the Board of Trustees of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (Camden Coalition), made up of community members, including former participants of the organization’s care management programs. Camden Coalition care teams introduce program graduates to the CAC as a means of continuing their relationship with the organization. The group learns about health-related initiatives in the community and provides input into the Coalition’s programming and organizational strategy. The CAC’s leadership are members of the Camden Coalition Board of Trustees. By participating in the CAC, participants are able to give back to the organization, feel a sense of belonging and purpose, and contribute to their own health and that of their community. The organization gains vital expertise that allows it to improve its programming and its relationship with the broader community.
Skills and Competencies
Camden Coalition staff use the following skills to maintain the program and develop relationships with CAC members:
- Leadership development
- Trauma-informed care
- Customer service orientation
- COACH model
In connection with the implementation of the NJ Medicaid ACO Demonstration Project, the trustees of our Board who represented community resident organizations worked with staff to design a body in which residents had a direct voice in the strategy of the organization. The trustees reviewed best practices in other organizations, hosted community meetings on a specific organizational question, and then invited anyone who attended those meetings to formalize a new body to continue addressing similar questions. The committee’s structure and purpose have evolved over time.
We believe this is building trust because participants are willing to do more on behalf of the organization. And we rarely have to make a case for someone to participate in an activity outside of a CAC meeting. For example, CAC members readily volunteered to call members of their community to remind them to complete the 2020 census.
CAC members also continue to reach out to us between meetings. They invite their friends and other community members to attend the CAC, which demonstrates the value of the program and implicit trust in the organization.
A growing number of organizations use the community advisory council model or patient and family advisory councils (PFAC) to engage community members, build trust, and ensure that the voice and perspective of care recipients are reflected in the design of programs, research projects, and organizational strategy and practice. For example, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, like many Healthcare for the Homeless organizations, has a robust Community Advisory Board that “meets monthly to develop BHCHP’s advocacy agenda and to provide feedback to help shape programs and policies. The Board also works on special projects, like patient health fairs and holiday events for homeless children.” The model is also used in national organizations like National Healthcare for the Homeless. The inclusion of representatives from the CAC or PFAC on the organization’s board of directors is a best practice to ensure that the collective voice of consumers is reflected in the organizations’ formal governance. When considering this type of program, it is critical that organizations incorporate the council’s feedback when possible and that participants themselves benefit from the relationship. This bidirectional relationship ensures that participants feel valued and see the impact of their contributions.