Medical Family Therapy in Community Engagement

  • Tai Mendenhall
  • William Doherty
  • Elizabeth “Nan” LittleWalker
  • Jerica Berge
Part of the Focused Issues in Family Therapy book series (FIFT)


“Community engagement” has been defined in a variety of ways over the years, ranging from petition and protests by disenfranchised groups against powerful others (e.g., businesses, governments) who have hurt or neglected them to purposeful partnerships advanced by lay community members and professional organizations. In healthcare, we have seen community engagement evolve from early efforts in peer support that do not directly involve professionals (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon) to those that are positioned within communities—but are professionally led (e.g., community-oriented primary care). Today, cutting-edge efforts in community engagement are gaining ground through community-based participatory research (CBPR); this manner of partnering communities and professionals is driven by the wisdom that everyone involved—patients, family members, community leaders, healthcare providers, administrators, etc.—has something to contribute. Collectively, this mosaic of expertise and energy is far more powerful than the sum of its parts.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tai Mendenhall
    • 1
  • William Doherty
    • 1
  • Elizabeth “Nan” LittleWalker
    • 2
  • Jerica Berge
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Family Social ScienceUniversity of MinnesotaSaint PaulUSA
  2. 2.Department of Indian WorkFamily Education Diabetes Series, Interfaith Action of Greater Saint PaulSt. PaulUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA

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