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      Community-based organizations in the health sector: A scoping review

      , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 1 , 2 , 3 , 5 , 6

      Health Research Policy and Systems

      BioMed Central

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          Community-based organizations are important health system stakeholders as they provide numerous, often highly valued programs and services to the members of their community. However, community-based organizations are described using diverse terminology and concepts from across a range of disciplines. To better understand the literature related to community-based organizations in the health sector (i.e., those working in health systems or more broadly to address population or public health issues), we conducted a scoping review by using an iterative process to identify existing literature, conceptually map it, and identify gaps and areas for future inquiry.

          We searched 18 databases and conducted citation searches using 15 articles to identify relevant literature. All search results were reviewed in duplicate and were included if they addressed the key characteristics of community-based organizations or networks of community-based organizations. We then coded all included articles based on the country focus, type of literature, source of literature, academic discipline, disease sector, terminology used to describe organizations and topics discussed.

          We identified 186 articles addressing topics related to the key characteristics of community-based organizations and/or networks of community-based organizations. The literature is largely focused on high-income countries and on mental health and addictions, HIV/AIDS or general/unspecified populations. A large number of different terms have been used in the literature to describe community-based organizations and the literature addresses a range of topics about them (mandate, structure, revenue sources and type and skills or skill mix of staff), the involvement of community members in organizations, how organizations contribute to community organizing and development and how they function in networks with each other and with government (e.g., in policy networks).

          Given the range of terms used to describe community-based organizations, this scoping review can be used to further map their meanings/definitions to develop a more comprehensive typology and understanding of community-based organizations. This information can be used in further investigations about the ways in which community-based organizations can be engaged in health system decision-making and the mechanisms available for facilitating or supporting their engagement.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Studies: towards a methodological framework

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            HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination: a conceptual framework and implications for action.

            Internationally, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, triggered at least in part by growing recognition that negative social responses to the epidemic remain pervasive even in seriously affected communities. Yet, rarely are existing notions of stigma and discrimination interrogated for their conceptual adequacy and their usefulness in leading to the design of effective programmes and interventions. Taking as its starting point, the classic formulation of stigma as a 'significantly discrediting' attribute, but moving beyond this to conceptualize stigma and stigmatization as intimately linked to the reproduction of social difference, this paper offers a new framework by which to understand HIV and AIDS-related stigma and its effects. It so doing, it highlights the manner in which stigma feeds upon, strengthens and reproduces existing inequalities of class, race, gender and sexuality. It highlights the limitations of individualistic modes of stigma alleviation and calls instead for new programmatic approaches in which the resistance of stigmatized individuals and communities is utilized as a resource for social change.
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              Systematic review of involving patients in the planning and development of health care.

              To examine the effects of involving patients in the planning and development of health care. Published and grey literature. Systematic search for worldwide reports written in English between January 1966 and October 2000. Qualitative review of papers describing the effects of involving patients in the planning and development of health care. Of 42 papers identified, 31 (74%) were case studies. Papers often described changes to services that were attributed to involving patients, including attempts to make services more accessible and producing information leaflets for patients. Changes in the attitudes of organisations to involving patients and positive responses from patients who took part in initiatives were also reported. Evidence supports the notion that involving patients has contributed to changes in the provision of services across a range of different settings. An evidence base for the effects on use of services, quality of care, satisfaction, or health of patients does not exist.

                Author and article information

                Health Res Policy Syst
                Health Res Policy Syst
                Health Research Policy and Systems
                BioMed Central
                21 November 2012
                : 10
                : 36
                [1 ]McMaster Health Forum, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, MML 417, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4L6, Canada
                [2 ]Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, CRL 209, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada
                [3 ]Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada
                [4 ]Ontario HIV Treatment Network, 1300 Yonge St, Suite 600, Toronto, ON, M4T 1X3, Canada
                [5 ]Department of Political Science, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON, Canada
                [6 ]Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
                Copyright ©2012 Wilson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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