Sustained Community Engagement-Rousing, Nimble, Complex

Danny van Leeuwen Health Hats
19 min readJan 17, 2022

The odyssey of sustained community engagement at Cambridge Health Alliance with Janice John and Jamila Xible. Cross-pollination of expertise and employment.


Welcome to the eleventh episode in Health Hats’ community engagement series. I’m fascinated with communities that gather to solve a problem, their problem. I tune my ears to such communities and grab guests to join us and share. Less often, I discover institutions actively and sustainably (over years or decades) engaged with the communities they serve. What’s the difference — one time and sustained? One time is meaningful, significant, fulfilling, amazing. And hard to learn from and time-consuming to start. No rapid zero to 60 mph when you need it. Sustained engagement takes time to build an investment upfront and ongoing, but it’s available on demand. They’re different, with different results. One such institution sustaining community engagement is the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA). Several episodes ago, we met Dr. Kirstin Meisinger, who recommended inviting Janice John and Jamila Xible to be our guests.

Introducing Jamila Xible and Janice John

Health Hats: Jamila Xible, Director of Health Education and Access Programs at the Cambridge Health Alliance, is responsible for the oversight of several programs, including the Volunteer Health Advisors, Aging Wisely Everett, Senior Suicide Prevention, Women’s Health Network, and the Community Health Improvement Learning Institute, which regularly offers Community Health Worker training. Jamila holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University.

Janice John, PA, is a Medical Director at Cambridge Health Alliance, an experienced Community Health Clinician, Leader, and Educator with a passion for shaping our health care delivery system to improve the health of our communities. She’s a transformational leader, alliance builder, strategic thinker, creative problem solver, and collaborator.

Health Hats: Jamila and Janice, thank you for joining us today. I’m delighted. Could you guys introduce yourselves to our listeners and readers and tell us a bit of yourself and how you got to this place of investing in community engagement? Janice, you want to start.

Danny van Leeuwen Health Hats

Empowering people traveling together toward best health. Pt with MS, care partner, nurse, informaticist, leader. Focusing on learning what works for people