Social Indicators Research

, Volume 139, Issue 1, pp 25–45 | Cite as

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

  • Nicolás BarbieriEmail author
  • Raquel Gallego
  • Ernesto Morales
  • Maica Rodríguez-Sanz
  • Laia Palència
  • M. Isabel Pasarín
Original Research


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.


Community action Health Public sector Indicators Barcelona 



The authors represent the research team Salut Comunitària: María José López Medina, Nuria Calzada Lombana, Xavier Blancafort Sansó, Felipe Herrera, Glòria Muniente, Carles Valero Garcia, Montse Petit. This work was supported by RecerCaixa, a program driven by “La Caixa” in collaboration with the Catalan Association of Public Universities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolás Barbieri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raquel Gallego
    • 1
  • Ernesto Morales
    • 2
  • Maica Rodríguez-Sanz
    • 3
  • Laia Palència
    • 4
  • M. Isabel Pasarín
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and Public Law, Public Policies and Government InstituteUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  2. 2.Public Policies and Government InstituteUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  3. 3.CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública, Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica Sant Pau, Agència de Salut Pública de BarcelonaUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública, Institut d’investigació Biomèdica Sant PauAgència de Salut Pública de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Agència de Salut Pública de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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