The Hows of Resident-Driven Community Empowerment towards Health Equity

Online Publication Date:
January 30, 2023
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:
Manuscript PDF File:


**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 17.4. All rights reserved.**


Background: This article details community engagement, design, and implementation strategies for the Raices-Xidid-Roots (RXR) Academy. RXR provided a linguistically accessible and culturally relevant curriculum to residents of Spanish and Somali-speaking immigrant, asylee, and refugee backgrounds.
Objectives: This study examined the implementation of the RXR program, including participation and adjustments needed to foster participant engagement and active voice, and explored participant actions to address self-identified aspirations as part of participation. RXR’s goal was to empower Morgan County, Colorado Spanish and Somali-speaking cohorts of residents from immigrant, asylee, and refugee backgrounds such that they could autonomously plan, create, and sustain programs and organizations to meet their community needs.
Methods: The observational study design included process and implementation evaluative approaches, including interview, project team meeting debriefings, and course organizer reflections, to identify and address implementation challenges, learn how the program met participants’ needs, and understand keys to maintaining participant engagement.
Results: Cultural adaptation of the content was key to maintaining consistent participant engagement, including delivering programming in participant preferred languages and tailoring curriculum to participant cultural practices. Participants indicated that language barriers had previously prevented them from accessing the content provided by the program’s curriculum. Adaptations included adjusting meeting logistics, participant compensation, and unit timing. The Two RXR Academy cohorts developed initiatives that addressed community-identified needs.
Lessons Learned: Three RXR design elements supported participant engagement and development of community power: 1) language access beyond the language justice model by providing programming in the participants’ preferred language, 2) cultural adaptation of programming, and 3) community ownership and active voice.
Conclusions: The RXR program provided opportunities for skill development among Morgan County’s non-native English-speaking residents and led to the design and implementation of resident-driven projects.