What are the elements of a whole system approach to community-centred public health? A qualitative study with public health leaders in England's local authority areas

Jude Stansfield*, Jane South, Tom Mapplethorpe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of the study was to identify key elements of whole system approaches to building healthy communities and putting communities at the heart of public health with a focus on public health practice to reduce health inequalities. 

Design: A mixed-method qualitative study was undertaken. The primary method was semi-structured interviews with 17 public health leaders from 12 local areas. This was supplemented by a rapid review of literature, a survey of 342 members of the public via Public Health England's (PHE) People's Panel and a round-table discussion with 23 stakeholders. 

Setting: Local government in England. 

Results: Eleven elements of community-centred public health practice that constitute taking a whole system approach were identified. These were grouped into the headings of involving, strengthening, scaling and sustaining. The elements were underpinned by a set of values and principles. 

Conclusion: Local public health leaders are in a strong position to develop a whole system approach to reducing health inequalities that puts communities at its heart. The elements, values and principles summarise what a supportive infrastructure looks like and this could be further tested with other localities and communities as a framework for scaling community-centred public health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere036044
JournalBMJ Open
Volume10
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which
permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

Publisher Copyright: © 2020 Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by BMJ.

Citation: Stansfield J, South J, Mapplethorpe T. What are the elements of a whole system approach to community-centred public health? A qualitative study with public health leaders in England’s local authority areas. BMJ Open 2020;10:e036044.

DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-036044

Keywords

  • health policy
  • preventive medicine
  • public health

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