How does trust play a role in building constituency relations and strategic partnerships for
community engagement and in community mobilization? What trust factors do public health
officials need to consider or be aware of when communicating with the community?
According to Checkoway (2015), community engagement occurs through the adoption of a
framework that follows guiding principles, approaches, and strategies that foster the
development of relations and strategic partnerships between the constituents. Most
fundamentally, the achievement of this goal necessitates optimization of factors such as the
enhancement of trust as the critical element that guarantees effective governance and sustainable
engagement in the long-run. Trust fundamentally contributes to the attainment of the objectives
mentioned herein through the enhancement of effective communication during and after the
implementation of engagement efforts (Checkoway, 2015). It further facilitates the
understanding of the engagement process, its goals, and the intended outcomes through the
provision of information necessary for making informed decisions.
Moreover, trust in community engagement significantly contributes to the development
of strategic partnerships and building relations among constituents through the facilitation of an
engagement framework that respects the opinions and contributions of all members. It further
contributes to the exemplification of transparency of the process applied by ensuring that all
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elements are clearly understood, honest, and do not have hidden agendas (Checkoway, 2015).
These are coupled with sharing information across all members of the community to ensure that
they have a common understanding of the salient issue (s) and the perspectives of each
stakeholder. Similarly, trust boosts the engagement of all stakeholders in meaningful ways by
incorporating their aspects, employ their skills, and consider their contributions in a way that
makes them feel consistent with their point of view on the issue being addressed.
Nevertheless, in the description of the role of trust in community engagement, public
health officials must put into consideration various factors during their communication with the
community. These factors include the different waves of trust that include the principle of
credibility or self-trust and consistency in an individual’s behavior based on his or her
relationship with other people (Checkoway, 2015). Moreover, public health officials should
consider whether the policies, structures, and systems applied within the organizations in a
particular community align with the trust they intend to achieve. These should be coupled with
the consideration of the organization’s overall reputation and whether stakeholders perceive it as
an entity with a record of accomplishment or contribution to the things a community cares about.
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Checkoway, B. (2015). Research as community-building: Perspectives on the scholarship of
engagement. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and
Engagement, 8(1), 139-49.