A talk with Renu Khanna | Meaningfully engaging with communities - dos and don'ts: lessons from a ground perspective

Meaningfully engaging with communities

The importance of meaningfully engaging communities in health research is well recognised globally. These stakeholders have a right to have a say in what is researched and how. In addition, they provide important perspectives and contribute valuable lived experiences, insights, and ideas at all stages of research.

Involving community members in research design makes a lot of sense. However, it is a relatively new practice that requires context-specific strategies, and practical guidance. The abundance of information available to us is often from high-income countries and has little relevance in other settings. Renu Khanna has been working with communities for over forty years, across a range of regions and topics. Renu brings her experience from various settings to provide key insights and practical tips for researchers considering how to involve communities more meaningfully and effectively.



  • Renu Khanna

    Renu Khanna is a passionate advocate for women’s health and rights. Based in Vadodara in the state of Gujarat, India, Khanna co-directs SAHAJ-Society for Health Alternatives (SAHAJ), a nongovernmental organization that focuses on health and education issues and works with children, adolescents and women. SAHAJ also works with movements and coalitions in several states to localize SDGs from a gender perspective. Khanna has over four decades of experience as a trainer, researcher, evaluator and policy analyst in India and is on the governing boards and steering committees of several national and international organizations and networks, including COPASAH – Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health. She is currently a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Gender and Global Health. She is a graduate of Delhi University, India where she received a degree in economics in 1975 and completed a master’s in business administration in 1977.

    Renu Khanna