What is it?
Community advisory boards (CABs) are made up of community leaders and stakeholders who advise health care leaders on the needs of the local population and partner with the health care organization to ensure access to high-quality health care. Community groups can advise health care leaders on a variety of projects, such as customer service, facility planning, or workforce development. This cheat sheet focuses specifically on CABs that address health disparities. By listening to marginalized groups’ needs and opinions, health leaders can better serve patients by creating initiatives, research, and resources that address the community’s true barriers to care and wellness, as opposed to those perceived by health system and service line leaders.
Whole health systems and individual service lines can both benefit from CAB guidance. Service line CABs are more targeted and can set their own priorities, which might get lost in the larger health system CAB. Their structure, function, and goals, though, are similar.
CABs can be designed to represent all patients within a geographic area or specific underserved groups in the community, regardless of neighborhood. It is also common to have one central CAB that represents an entire catchment area, and then smaller, priority focused committees under it.
The leaders on a CAB should represent diverse people and occupations. Leaders could include minority health care providers and researchers, state and government officials, members of social and health justice agencies, representatives from public schools, or community health workers.
Example of CAB projects include working with health care leaders to find novel ways to disseminate health information to the community, designing a pipeline for minority health care workers, guiding clinical research on relevant topics, and creating culturally sensitive resources.