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AHRQ Community Forum

The purpose of the AHRQ Community Forum, funded initially under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is to improve and expand public and stakeholder engagement in research supported by AHRQ’s Effective Health Care Program.  Community Forum activities seek to:

  • Build on existing efforts to involve stakeholders— clinicians, patients, caregivers, health services researchers, health care payers, and others—having a specific interest in AHRQ’s EHC Program research.
  • Advance the science for obtaining input from both stakeholders and the general public in the development and dissemination of health care research.

Community Forum updates and materials are posted to the Resources for Getting Involved and Involving Others page as they become available.

Stakeholder Input

AHRQ engages stakeholders at all stages of research to ensure that the EHC Program addresses relevant and important issues, and that findings are used to support evidence-based health care. Stakeholders contribute by:


The Agency convenes stakeholder groups comprised of clinicians, payers, patient representatives, and researchers to assist with specific projects; a formal panel, the Effective Health Care (EHC) Stakeholder Group, provides perspectives on broad program elements.

Community Forum stakeholder activities include:

  1. Identifying and describing innovative practices for AHRQ and others to use to engage patients, clinicians and other stakeholders in research.
  2. Building support for patient and consumer involvement in comparative effectiveness research.
  3. Outreach to engage key clinician groups more actively in the EHC Program, including the AHRQ Evidence-Based Care (EBC) Challenge for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants practicing in retail settings.
  4. Developing tools and resources to support patients, consumers, clinicians and others to provide input to EHC Program research.

Public Input

The views and values of the American public shape the way in which research findings can be used to improve health. AHRQ’s efforts to gain improved insight into these views focus on deliberative methods, a set of public consultation approaches well suited for exploring complex questions. Deliberative methods allow participants to learn in depth about a societal issue, explore diverse perspectives, and refine their views; they give decisionmakers insights based on informed and considered opinions.

Community Forum activities include the following:

The Community Forum Deliberative Methods Demonstration

The Deliberative Methods Demonstration developed, fielded, and evaluated four distinct types of deliberative approaches. The demonstration convened 76 groups and more than 1,000 participants, including members of several AHRQ priority populations (Hispanics, African-American women, and the elderly). Participants deliberated on the use of evidence in health care decisionmaking. The study is the most comprehensive evaluation of deliberative methods to date, and provides insights regarding an issue central to AHRQ’s research.


Deliberative Methods Resources

The Community Forum has completed a Literature Review and developed Knowledge Briefs on the use of deliberative methods.  Community Forum Webcasts provide an overview and information on the design and implementation of deliberative sessions.

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is the Contractor for the Community Forum.  Subcontractors are the Center for Medical Technology Policy, the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University, AcademyHealth, the Center for Healthcare Decisions, and Consumers’ Union.