Critical Reflexivity of Communities on Their Experience to Improve Population Health. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although community capacity has been prominent in the public health literature for nearly 20 years, the field has only operationalized a few dimensions. An intriguing dimension of capacity is a community's ability to critically reflect. On the basis of previous research as well as theoretical and practical insights from management and organizational learning literature, we offer a process framework for critical reflexivity practice in community. The framework draws on ideas regarding cognition and agency, praxis, as well as the transformative learning model to conceptualize how reflexivity happens as an emergent community process. The implication is that reflexivity is a community-level process of making meaning of experiences that drive a common narrative. Inclusivity and establishing consensus are paramount, and can be difficult in light of power dynamics and consideration of dissenting voices and different experiences; enlightened self-interest and creating conducive spaces for dialogue are key in this process. Strengthening communities' ability to gain and employ collective wisdom from their experience will also build their overall capacity for population health improvement.

published proceedings

  • Am J Public Health

altmetric score

  • 4.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Wendel, M. L., Garney, W. R., Castle, B. F., & Ingram, C. M.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Wendel, Monica L||Garney, Whitney R||Castle, Billie F||Ingram, C Monique

publication date

  • July 2018