Community Outreach Among Employees of an Academic Children’s Hospital

Shawn M. Smith*, Maheen Quadri, Kelly Walker Lowry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the largest freestanding academic pediatric hospital in Illinois, created the Healthy Communities initiative in 2016 to expand the hospital’s mission to improve child health by partnering with local community organizations. Through the Thrive leadership development program, a group of hospital employees developed an action-learning project to understand how employees and physicians might engage with a specific Healthy Communities initiative to increase participation in organization-affiliated community outreach activities. After conducting a literature review and interviews with key stakeholders, the group characterized current employee and physician community outreach activities and interests through an online survey. The 19-item Likert style survey assessed perspectives on key motivations, barriers, and opportunities. A multidisciplinary sample of 564 respondents completed the survey. Although 87% of respondents currently participate in community outreach activities, only 44% participate through the institution. Motivations for participation included helping others less fortunate (70%), giving back to the community (68%), and creating awareness of an initiative (45%). The ideal setting for future participation would not require ongoing commitment (82%), could be done on weekends (69%), and completed with co-workers, friends or family (71%). The ideal types of opportunities for future participation could involve donations (86%), volunteering their skills (79%), and attending fundraisers (73%). Community outreach participation is high among employees and physicians at our institution. Targeting individual motivating factors could increase participation in activities through the institution. These findings guided the Healthy Communities team in organizing and developing opportunities for employees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-419
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Community outreach
  • Employee engagement
  • Volunteer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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