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Engaging Priority Populations Resource

March 9, 2016

Durham Region Health Department’s Social Determinants of Health public health nurse team developed a resource, Engaging Priority Populations, to provide staff with a broad overview of community engagement and engaging with priority populations. The report is divided into two main sections. The first section provided a broad overview of community engagement, including key concepts, principles, benefits and challenges – the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of community engagement. The next section shifts focus to engaging priority populations, including why this is important, considerations regarding language used, and factors affecting access and engagement. Families with children were selected as a priority population that is relevant across the department and present in all communities of practice.
The resource was disseminated to health department staff through presentations that were tailored to each specific department/program area. An important learning is that it is quite challenging to develop a “one size fits all” resource on such a broad topic. Meeting with management prior to each presentation helped to identify relevant examples for that area. Another key learning is the importance of timing the launch to coincide with program planning activities. For a copy of this report, please contact: Shawna Eagles ( or Nasreen Giga (