Measuring and Analysing Community Action for Health: An Indicator-Based Typology and Its Application to the Case of Barcelona

Nicolás Barbieri, Raquel Gallego, Ernesto Morales, Maica Rodríguez-Sanz, Laia Palència, M. Isabel Pasarín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Social welfare systems face major challenges, particularly in a context of social transformation, austerity and growing inequalities. This process is highly visible in the health sector. In this context, many voices ask for public sector reforms and community action for health as a relevant practice. However, analyses and evaluations of this kind of practices are still limited, particularly beyond the cases of single community health actions or interventions. We still need to identify key indicators for measuring and characterising what community action for health consists of, as well as to what degree this kind of intervention has been developed across a city. Based on a research about 49 neighborhoods in Barcelona, this paper creates an index to measure and characterize community action for health, using different indicators: citizen engagement programs in community health, organizational transformation of the health and social protection systems, stable participatory structures with specific teams, and urban health policies. We apply the index to the case of Barcelona and build a map of community action for health in the city using 4 categories: strong community health development (one neighbourhood), middle (9 neighborhoods), emergent (25 neighborhoods) and without specific community health promotion (14 neighbourhoods). We find that community action for health is extensive within the city of Barcelona, have great potential as a response to the need for change in the relationship between the public (health) sector and the citizenry, but is still implemented unequally across the urban territory in terms of types and methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-45
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Barcelona
  • Community action
  • Health
  • Indicators
  • Public sector


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