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J Public Health Manag Pract 2018;24(4)350-359
Community engagement (CE)—involving citizens and civil society in the formulation, implementation, and assessment of policies and programs affecting their well-being – is a centerpiece of US health and security doctrine and growing feature of local problem solving. In disaster and epidemic management, CE is tied to the move from a government-centric to whole-of-community model and shift from readiness and response to resilience aims. Government cannot mount an effective response singlehandedly given finite resources, rigid structures, and limited local knowledge. By encouraging citizen and civil society input, authorities also foster social connectedness, cross-sector collaboration, and collective problem solving which together enhance disaster resilience.