Achieving Health Equity through Community Control of Budgets
Ten Dollar Bill and Coins

Course Objective

  • Name the characteristics of public engagement practices that offer community control to historically underrepresented and under-resourced communities
  • Describe how participatory budgeting has impacted health outcomes and social determinants of health in the US and internationally
  • Describe opportunities to integrate data-informed community engagement practices into the allocation of health-focused funds and/or budgets that influence the social determinants of health

Date: October 3, 2017

Jennifer Godzeno, MSUP, MPH, AICP
Deputy Director
Participatory Budgeting Project

Participatory budgeting involves community members in deciding what to do with a given budget. It is a powerful tool used globally to increase community engagement and shift from “indirect” to “direct” democracy. Its impacts include encouraging a more responsive government, giving voices to community members who otherwise may be ineligible to vote in standard elections, and has even been linked to a 30% reduction in under-5 mortality in communities in Brazil that adopted the practice. Jennifer Godenzo discusses how it applies to the “ladder of participation” by giving citizens control and is thus equitable, empowering, and focuses on the social determinants of health. She explains the five steps of participatory budgeting: design a process with the community, brainstorm ideas, develop proposals, cast a vote, and fund winning projects. She also gives examples of where participatory budgeting has been used, from high schools in Phoenix, AZ to citywide community garden projects in Vallejo, CA to within organizations, such as hospitals and foundations.

Region 2 Public Health Training Center