Community Engagement, Motivation and Participation in Health Advisory Boards




Purpose: All IN for Health is dedicated to helping improve the lives of Indiana residents through community engagement by increasing health research literacy and promoting health resources. It also provides opportunities to participate in research and clinical studies, hosting a state-wide participant registry. All IN for Health is made possible by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, combining the research expertise of Indiana University, Purdue University and University of Notre Dame. Its health advisory board is composed of community members and provides advise, feedback and recommendations.

Objective: This study aims to provide health advisory boards (HABs) in Indiana information to understand the motivations and interests of potential board members to be used for recruitment and community outreach.

Methods: In looking for new members of the All IN for Health HAB, 488 applicants answered questions about their motivations for and interests in becoming a part of the HAB. In order to identify what motivates people to get involved, answers were analyzed for common themes via a thematic analysis. All answers remained anonymous, and no personal data was used in the analysis.

Results: Analysis revealed six recurring themes in the motivation to join the HAB and 9 recurring themes were identified about interest in the position. These themes can be grouped by previous diagnosis (family, friends, and self), being a caregiver, the greater good/change and advocacy, and personal experience.

Discussion: These themes are tied together by experience in the healthcare system whether it be as a patient, a caregiver, provider, or researcher. HABs are important as they help connect with communities by listening to community needs, addressing specific topics, helping to build consensus and coordination, among many other benefits. By understanding motivation and interests of potential HAB members we can genuinely put the communities’ interest first in public and population health.