Community Engagement

The Washtenaw Health Initiative is working to enhance community engagement–with a special focus on lived experience–so we can learn from and collaborate with one another to achieve improved health outcomes for our county’s low-income, uninsured, underinsured, and marginalized populations. 

Recent achievements

  • In 2021, the WHI added its first Community Ambassador to the WHI Steering Committee. The WHI added a second Community Ambassador in 2023. Our community ambassadors serve as voting members of the WHI Steering Committee, giving them agency in the strategic direction of the WHI.
  • In 2023, the WHI recruited a Community Advisory Board led by the WHI’s Community Ambassadors. The CAB is meant to represent diverse voices and experiences in Washtenaw County. It is composed of residents who are not affiliated with health systems or organizations. Rather, these members are devoid of organizational bias or obligation – each different in background, education, race, and age. 
  • In 2024, the WHI Community Advisory Board participated in a focus group with UNITE, a group of non-profit hospitals in Washtenaw County, to inform its jointly developed community health improvement plan. The advisory board provided insights on how to address UNITE’s top three identified needs: Housing, accessibility, and mental health. 

Future directions

The WHI Community Advisory Board discusses emerging public health issues that they’ve noticed in their respective communities. It is then up to the CAB to decide on which issue(s) to address. 

In 2024 the CAB is focusing on community outreach and education. This group is tentatively expecting to collaborate with the University of Michigan’s Office of Patient Experience and Community Health Services to assist with health equity campaigns.


These community engagement initiatives are spearheaded by Community Engagement Program Manager Erin Horne. For further questions, please contact her at