Health Policy Series: Critical Reflections on Public Engagement

We’re bringing conference vibes to the podcast and presenting a short series of critical work on public engagement from members of the Public Engagement in Health Policy team.  We noted themes of: community exclusion from formal engagement processes; misalignment of goals; questions of legitimacy; and challenges of conducting community-engaged research in institutional settings. 

We already published the keynote from Dr. Jamila Michener on Transformative Engagement – and in true conference fashion, we’re also sharing our roundtable breakout discussion with researchers Katie Boothe and Alana Cattapan! 

Featuring excerpts from presentations recorded at this conference, Reimagining public engagement in a changing world:

  • ‘If we don’t do it, who will’? An exploration of Black community agency in health policy and advocacy in Ontario – Dr. Alpha Abebe and Rhonda C. George, McMaster University
  • Engaging deliberately: Exploring deliberation in two Canadian health systems – Joanna Massie, McMaster University
  • The Epistemic Injustices of Public Engagement: When nothing is done to meet the demands of Nothing about Us without Us! – Dr. Genevieve Fuji Johnson, Simon Fraser University

Followed by (the more interesting parts of!) our actual conversation with Katherine (Katie) Boothe (Associate Professor at McMaster in the Political Science department and a team member in the Public Engagement in Health Policy Project) and Alana Cattapan (Canada Research Chair in the Politics of Reproduction and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo). We debrief on conference themes, share critical reflections and occasionally complain about the state of funding and support for community-engaged research. 

If you’re interested in critical work on public engagement, this episode (along with the Dr. Michener’s keynote) is an excellent summary of a stellar conference!


This series is supported by the Public Engagement in Health Policy project, which promotes research, critical reflection and dialogue about engagement issues that have a health and health policy focus. Learn more about this Future of Canada project at

[download transcript]