The “Our Voice” Method: Participatory Action Citizen Science Research to Advance Behavioral Health and Health Equity Outcomes

Maja Pedersen*, Grace E. R. Wood*, Praveena K. Fernes*, Lisa Goldman Rosas, Ann Banchoff, Abby C. King

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Citizen science research that more fully engages the community can systematically involve people from under-resourced groups to create practical health-enhancing improvements across physical, social and food environments. Exemplary health equity-focused outcomes include key health behaviors (e.g., healthy eating or physical activity) and community-level changes (e.g., public transit to food shops) that are central to health promotion while being demonstrably impacted by local environmental contexts. Yet, few examples of this approach are readily available for application within complex, community-based settings. In this paper, we present the Our Voice (OV) four-step method to demonstrate an integrated participatory citizen science approach and its usability for action-focused researchers and community health practitioners. In addition, we present a summary of the major research, processes, and community outcomes, with examples drawn from nutrition and healthy food access areas, among others. Finally, we explore the hallmark features of the OV method that effectively engage citizen scientists, empowering action and fostering solution-building across social and environmental structures impacting community health. Expanding research that marries participatory research philosophies with innovative citizen science methods, supported by systematic data collection, visualization, and delivery technologies, in turn provides a powerful toolkit for tackling local to global health equity challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14773
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022


  • participatory research
  • community-engaged research
  • citizen science
  • health equity
  • health promotion
  • community health
  • food security
  • physical activity


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