Empowering people and communities

Session four of the PHC interest group’s ten-part lunchtime seminar series, “Primary Health Care: The heart of every health system” that is running once a month throughout the 2022/23 academic year.

Figures of a male, female and child with words relating to health making up their body

The seminar series provides an overview of the key functions and features of PHC; its potential in achieving universal health coverage and its role in global health. Seminars are led by speakers working in a range of settings. 

Learn more about the rest of the events in this series

PHC aims to enable a health-conducive environment in which individuals and communities are empowered and engaged in maintaining and enhancing their health and well-being.  In this session we examine the need for responsive PHC to support people and communities to take control of their own health, and involve them in the design, planning and delivery of health-services.  This session covers: 

  1. The definition of empowered people and communities 
  2. An overview of the political forces that are driving greater engagement and self-care 
  3. The demand for greater engagement and self-care 


Dr Luke Allen will introduce the definitions and background and Dr Dheepa Rajan will give a taste of how the concept is being operationalised today.  Dr Matthew Harris will share lessons on what can be learnt from Brazil’s community health worker model and present findings from a pilot community health workers scheme linked to GPs in London. Prof Cari Free will reflect on the promise and perils of self-care as systems seek to move away from paternalistic, doctor-focused care. 


Luke Allen, LSHTM

Luke is a GP and a global health policy researcher who has worked on PHC at the WHO and World Bank.

Dheepa Rajan, European Health Observatory

Dheepa works on health systems analysis, primary health care, and participatory governance at WHO, both at headquarters and currently in the European region.

Caroline Free, LSHTM

Caroline is a GP and a Professor of Primary Care and Epidemiology. 

Matthew Harris, Imperial

Matthew is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Public Health, in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, and an Honorary Consultant in Public Health Medicine in the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.


This session will be chaired by Luisa Pettigrew, LSHTM and Josephine Exley, LSHTM. 

Please note that this session is online. For those based at the School, you can watch the webinar in person at LG6 (Rose room).



Free and open to all, online and in person. No registration required. A recording of this session will be available after the event on this page.