Bill Doherty

Bill Doherty on Citizen Engagement...

Since 1999, I’ve been leading The Families and Democracy Project, which aims to move professionals into communities with new thinking and a new set of public skills for working on health, family, and social problems. The Project brings together an understanding of family dynamics, democratic theory, community organizing, and community based participatory research. Based on the Public Work Model of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, the Families and Democracy Project stresses the importance of citizen work to strengthen family life, the need to transcend the traditional provider/consumer model of education, health care and professional service delivery, and a vision of families and communities creating public initiatives to change their world.

When applied to health care, the Families and Democracy Model is called Citizen Health Care. It is a way to engage patients, families, and communities as co-producers of health and health care. It goes beyond the activated patient to the activated community, with professionals acquiring community organizing skills for working with individuals and families who see themselves as citizens of health care—builders of health in the clinic and community—rather than just as consumers of medical services.

Now co-led by Tai Mendenhall, Ph.D. and Jerica Berge, Ph.D. of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, the Families and Democracy/Citizen Health Care Project has worked with individuals and families in a wide range of settings and population groups, from suburban middle class communities to urban immigrant communities. Some projects have led to funding (over two million dollars thus far) while others have been bootstrapped. The next stage is the formation of the Citizen Professional Center, a training and research center housed in the College of Education and Human Development and co-sponsored by the College of Medicine (Department of Family Medicine and Community Health) and the Hubert H. Humphrey Center for Public Affairs (Center for Democracy and Citizenship). 

Bill Doherty's varied works and writings on citizen engagement and the Families and Democracy Model

Beyond the Consulting Room

NetworkerPsychotherapy Networker Download PDF

Psychotherapy Networker


Citizen HealthCare

A journal article. Download PDF.


Harry Boyte - Professional Mentor

Harry Boyte

An interview in August 2001 with Harry Boyte. Download PDF.


A Book Chapter on Citizen Healthcare

A book chapter on the Families and Democracy Project. Download PDF Reference is not in the chapter:  Doherty, W. J., & Carroll, J. (2007).  Families and therapists as citizens: The Families and Democracy Model. In E. Aldarondo (Ed.), Advancing social justice through clinical practice.  (pp. 225-244). Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Copyright 2010 Bill Doherty, Ph.D.