In this Beacon Program, engagement activities are a standard practice bringing selected representative individuals in southeast Minnesota and involving them in each initiative along the way. The views of these key stakeholders are incorporated into planning, implementations and in the Beacon governance process.
The community engagement process first invoked in the region involved an approach called Deliberative Democracy. Deliberative Community Engagement refers to a process that integrates the aims of democratic government with deliberative processes. As much science is funded by public dollars that directly influence public policy decisions and public health interventions, deliberative democracy assumes that the major stakeholders in society, the citizens, should have an opportunity to learn about, as well as provide, useful recommendations regarding the development and implementation of research and subsequent policy decisions and/or interventions. This assumption serves the aim of increasing science literacy, but it also assures that the science understands the values of communities and is thus able to more successful.
For an insiders view of the process deployed in the Southeast Minnesota Beacon, watch the 20 minute video where Dr. Ellie Garrett walks through the process where regional citizens where engaged to make ethical tradeoffs in health information exchange and where our result findings are presented.
For more on the Deliberative Democracy process, view a short video on how it was used to found Mayo Clinic’s biobank: