Rachel Lucy, Ph.D. is a 2021 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dr. Rachel Lucy at her Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Aqeel Tirmizi, Committee Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Holloway, Committee Member, Dr. Tom Wolff, Committee Member

Dissertation Committee

  • Aqeel Tirmizi, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Tom Wolff, Ph.D., Committee Member


community health, popular education, lived experience, empowerment, shared power, multi-sector collaboration, healthcare

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There has been recognition in a consistent and long-term way that the most complex health issues of our time cannot be solved by one sector alone. Actions of funders and new policy spanning the last two decades have successfully attracted a diversity of sectors into planning circles. Many multi-sector collaborations (MSCs) aiming to improve community health have the desire to include the voices of those with lived experience in collaborative efforts, but they are challenged by conditions that are inevitably disengaging because of continued power imbalances, excessive bureaucratic process, and lack of action for change. A collaboration operating in the Gorge region of Oregon offers insight on how to rise above these challenges to inclusively engage those with lived experience. The Gorge has earned national notoriety as a result of improved community health indicators and the structure for collaboration and engagement make it a positive outlier. This exploratory case study asked the central question of what shapes inclusive engagement of participants with lived or living experience in MSCs working towards community health improvement. Building off the assertion that improved community health outcomes in collaboratives require the inclusive engagement of participants who are most closely impacted by health issues, this study sought to precisely include the perceptions of these individuals most closely impacted. Results were derived from 15 participant interviews, researcher observations of engagement, and a review of publicly available materials. A striking alignment was found between the perceptions of the three different study participant types participating in the Gorge MSC which confirmed the presence of three interrelated domains and ten themes. The study offers insight into (a) conditions that nurture a culture of collaboration and empowerment; (b) the role formal sector participants play in equitably sharing power; (c) how power viewed through an empowerment frame resonated most for those with lived experience; and (d) the ways collaborations can intentionally create meaningful inclusion through structure and informality. The study concludes with implications for future research and researcher reflections. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, OhioLINK ETD Center,


Rachel Lucy

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0001-7967-6027

Dr. Rachel Lucy is the Northwest Director of Community Health for PeaceHealth, a non-profit healthcare system serving 10 communities in the Pacific Northwest. Her career has focused on advocating for the underserved, community wellness, and caregiver engagement. Rachel served as the previous Director of Learning and Development launching the PeaceHealth Leadership Institute and is an experienced planner and facilitator of large group learning forums and programs, including leadership summits. Rachel finds inspiration in partnering with leaders and teams who share a deep commitment to enhancing community health and wellbeing. Always fascinated by the power of collaboration, Rachel knows that to be successful, community health organizations must engender trustworthiness, be consistent, take action and speak the truth to one another, policy makers, and community leaders. She believes each of these is vital to success. She served two consecutive terms on the Whatcom County Public Health Advisory Board and was nominated for the 2017 Professional Woman of the year by Whatcom Women in Business. In 2017, Rachel was named one of the Tomorrow’s Leaders of the Catholic Health Ministry by the Catholic Health Association and was the PeaceHealth Spirit of Healing overall recipient in 2014. She holds a degree in Community Health from Western Washington University, a Master’s in Organizational Psychology from Antioch University Seattle and a Master’s in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Rachel also received her Mastering Professional Management certificate from the Institute of Generative Leadership. Rachel and her partner, Jason live in the Pacific Northwest and keep busy raising their two active daughters