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Stakeholder Engagement Working Group

Stories from the Field: Keeping the Oral Tradition of Stakeholder Engagement Alive

Working Group Lead:

Gretchen Armijo -


At the 2016 HIA Practitioner Workshop, we spent time with participants reflecting on our experiences and methods as HIA practitioners, around the topic of stakeholder engagement. We asked the question: As HIA practitioners conducting stakeholder engagement activities, are we aligned with the values and principles of our field? Using a combination of Open Space technique and video recordings, facilitators and practitioners shared stories from the field, capturing insights and lessons for the HIA community.


The objectives of our small working group were to:

  • To reflect on our stakeholder engagement practice
  • To understand, on a working level, how our practice aligns with core HIA values
  • To inspire each other by sharing stories and working through challenges
  • To capture lessons learned and key insights on stakeholder engagement
  • To share the knowledge of the participants with the wider HIA community

Past Accomplishments

Our group has been very productive since its inception in 2009! Besides creating the Guidance and Best Practices for Stakeholder Engagement in HIA (2012), our group has recently released:

  • Stakeholder Engagement Tools and Resources – includes tools to help with stakeholder analysis, developing a stakeholder engagement plan, how to talk about health and social determinants, understanding pitfalls and obstacles to stakeholder engagement, and evaluating SE activities.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Planning and Budget Resource– includes useful information from the field on stakeholder engagement activities and discusses how to build meaningful engagement activities into HIA budgets upfront.

And, we are hoping to release a draft resource sheet at the HIA Practitioners Workshop on key tips and tricks for working with advisory committees.

Moving the Field of HIA Forward

The experience of the working group and the products that stem from our session will act as a reminder that one of our core responsibilities as HIA practitioners is to share people’s stories with decision makers. By supporting the practice of oral tradition in stakeholder engagement, and by capturing the lived experiences of people in the field, our team hopes to inspire HIA practitioners to keep the practice of engagement aligned with HIA core values.

Meeting Outcomes

Our working group used Open Space technique to brainstorm and then discuss topic areas of importance to the practice of stakeholder engagement in HIA. The brainstorm of topics included:

After a fabulous brainstorm, we ended up talking about:

  1. Scale & prioritizing Stakeholder engagement (especially rapid, federal/State policy)
  2. Equity, trust, power, motives & ethics
  3. Decision makers as stakeholders, working in the health dept., special concerns

Detailed notes are available if anyone is interested.

From these conversations we filmed four stories during day two on the following topics:

  • Example of partnering with a very active Community Based Organization to gain access to stakeholders/input & amplify HIA use (Ellen)
  • Working with decision makers as stakeholders: finding the both/and to make HIA process & findings useful and boost implementation (Sheena)
  • Oral history story about how process of HIA can uncover ways to both empower and engage stakeholders for healthier communities- before HIA is done (Gretchen)
  • Example of working with pre-existing community events to garner stakeholder participation and input (Ed)

Next Steps for the Working Group

Our group will work on developing the 4 videos that tell the stories and lessons that participants shared. We would like these videos to be made available to the wider HIA community through SOPHIA. We see these videos as a pilot project that may be used to inspire other HIA stakeholders (e.g. community groups, municipalities, faith-based organizations) to tell their own stories using this, or another story-telling, format.

Our group may also begin to work on the following:

  • Working with the Equity work group to come up with resources to help practitioners meaningfully incorporate equity into stakeholder engagement.
  • Continue to map out resources for working with advisory committees in HIA
  • Other ideas that come to light during our meetings

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