community-campus partnerships; Affordable Health Care Act, Health Disparities, Communication


Health Communication


Background: Community-campus partnerships have been a major developing field of study in improving health outcomes to reduce health disparities. However, there is limited literature that evaluates communication strategies used to improve health outcomes among disadvantaged populations during the early stages of implementing community-campus partnerships.

Objectives: Based on the Donabedian model, we conducted a retrospective quasi-qualitative synthesis of literature relating to the identification and evaluation of community engaged communication in community-campus partnerships to address health disparities.

Data sources: All published peer-reviewed articles from 2001 to 2013 that addressed health disparities in community-campus partnerships were reviewed. Key word searches from PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Social SciSearch, ProQuest, and Communication and Mass Media Complete databases were performed.

Design: Donabedian’s structure, process and outcome model was used to provide a framework for the inclusion and exclusion criteria of studies. Using a quasi-qualitative approach, qualitative and quantitative analysis were used to compare the relationship between studies and inferential statistics respectively. Themes were identified and described. Data were extracted on each study’s characteristic and application of components on the Donabedian model in community-campus partnerships.

Results: Forty-two articles met the inclusion criteria. All articles described by using some part of the Donabedian model to improve health outcomes. However, there was great variability in the frequency of communication structures and processes used. We found that communication processes and strategies have an association with improving health outcomes, especially among disadvantaged and vulnerable populations (r = 0.863, p<0.01).

Conclusion: Community engaged communication processes and strategies are powerful tools to engage underserved populations. Consequently, under the premise of a community-campus partnership, well-conceived and implemented communication approaches greatly improve health outcomes in disadvantaged populations.