Building a Culture of Health at the Neighborhood Level Through Governance Councils

Jennifer Pierre, Carl Letamendi, Luke Sleiter, Zinzi Bailey, Rachel Dannefer, Lauren Shiman, Jaime Gutierrez, Elana Martins, Richard Sierra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


To explore facilitators and barriers to developing and sustaining collaboration among New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Neighborhood Health Action Centers and co-located partners, who share information and decision-making through a Governance Council structure of representative members. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in 2018 with 43 Governance Council members across the three Action Centers of East Harlem (13), Tremont (15), and Brownsville (15), New York City. Governance Council members identified collaboration through information- and resource-sharing, consistent meetings and continuous communication as valuable for fostering a culture of health in their communities. Immediate benefits included building relationships, increased access to resources, and increased reach and access to community members. Challenges included difficulty building community trust, insufficient advertisement of services, and navigation of government bureaucracy. The Governance Councils forged collaborative relationships among local government, community-based organizations and clinical providers to improve health and well-being in their neighborhoods. Sharing space, resources and information is feasible with a movement towards shared leadership and decision-making. This may result in community-driven and tailored solutions to historical inequities. In shared leadership models, some internal reform by Government partners may be required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-879
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-sector collaboration
  • Health equity
  • Local health department
  • Neighborhood health
  • Place-based interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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