Toward resourcefulness: Pathways for community positive health

Laura E. R. Peters*, Geordan Shannon, Ilan Kelman, Eija Meriläinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Communities are powerful and necessary agents for defining and pursuing their health, but outside organizations often adopt community health promotion approaches that are patronizing and top-down. Conversely, bottom-up approaches that build on and mobilize community health assets are often critiqued for tasking the most vulnerable and marginalized communities to use their own limited resources without real opportunities for change. Taking into consideration these community health promotion shortcomings, this article asks how communities may be most effectively and appropriately supported in pursuing their health. This article reviews how community health is understood, moving from negative to positive conceptualizations; how it is determined, moving from a risk-factor orientation to social determination; and how it is promoted, moving from top-down to bottom-up approaches. Building on these understandings, we offer the concept of ‘resourcefulness’ as an approach to strengthen positive health for communities, and we discuss how it engages with three interrelated tensions in community health promotion: resources and sustainability, interdependence and autonomy, and community diversity and inclusion. We make practical suggestions for outside organizations to apply resourcefulness as a process-based, place-based, and relational approach to community health promotion, arguing that resourcefulness can forge new pathways to sustainable and self-sustaining community positive health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1051370
Peer-reviewed scientific journalGlobal Health Promotion
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 22.11.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 314,2 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
  • 512 Business and Management
  • assets/protective factors
  • capacity building (including competencies)
  • communities
  • empowerment/power
  • equity/social justice
  • health promotion
  • policy/politics
  • salutogenesis


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