WHAT IS COMMUNITY RESILIENCE?

RESILIENCE is the capacity of a system to adapt under difficult circumstances.  - Ann Masten 

As it relates to health, Community Resilience is the ability of a community to use its assets to strengthen public health and healthcare systems.

A community is resilient when community members:

  • Are connected to each other and work together
  • Adapt to changes in the physical, social, or economic environment
  • Are self-reliant if external resources are limited or cut off
  • Learn from experience to improve the community over time


Is Community Resilience a Public Health Issue?

Absolutely! When developing community resilience strategies, we must consider social determinants of health.

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age. These conditions can affect your health, well-being, and quality of life.

Factors that contribute to health inequities include:

  • Poverty
  • Unemployment
  • Poor education
  • Inadequate housing
  • Violence
  • Decaying neighborhood

Conditions leading to SDOH include:

  • Racism
  • Homophobia and transphobia
  • Income inequity
  • Misogyny

These conditions are called the ‘root causes of health inequities.’  

Community resilience strategies address these root causes of health inequities. The focus is placed on systems, policies, and practices perpetuating health inequities.


Prevention is prioritized. Community resilience strategies must include all voices, particularly those most adversely impacted.

MRBN supports reframing public health centering community resilience. This builds stronger community systems and structures that address a wide range of health challenges.

Please see our Community Resilience Brief and Executive Report.

How Can We Support Community Resilience Efforts?

The Resilience Tree describes the impact of equitable and trauma-informed systems and supports. These investments help communities become resilient and equipped to support the health of their members. 

The Center for Community Resilience at George Washington University is a national leader in community resilience work. Dr. Wendy Ellis, Director of the Center for Community Resilience, will be the keynote speaker at our 2023 MRBN Biannual Conference.


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