The Project GRACE (Growing, Reaching, Advocating for Change and Empowerment) Consortium is academic-community collaboration between partners that share the common goal of eliminating health disparities in African American communities through community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches to partnership development and intervention design (R24MD001671). Some of the highest rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the Southeast are in Edgecombe and Nash counties in North Carolina, with astonishing rates in African American youth. The realization of this health crisis, reached jointly by all partners, was the impetus for the creation of this partnership. The Project GRACE Consortium is made up of African American residents of Edgecombe and Nash counties, leaders from community-based organizations, two public health agencies, and UNC researchers;each member is committed to ongoing planning, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of interventions to reduce the risk of HIV and other STIs. In our planning grant, we used a rigorous approach to both develop this partnership and intervention and also identify community needs and assets in Edgecombe and Nash counties. A conceptual framework that recognizes the influence of behavioral, social, and physical environmental factors on HIV/STI risk in African American rural communities has guided data collection and intervention design. The intervention's design has been a result of a collaborative process that recognizes the strength of the community and capitalizes on the foundation of the Project GRACE partnership. Our intervention will extend the lay health advisor (LHA) model through the innovative use of lay health advisor parent-youth dyads ("Ambassadors") to reduce HIV/STI risk in parents and youth they reach out to ("Allies"). This multilevel, multigenerational intervention draws elements from several health behavior theories with the intended outcome of reducing the risk of HIV and other STIs in youth through sexual abstinence, condom use among sexually active youth, healthy dating practices, parental communication and monitoring, and community advocacy. Our long-term goal is the development, testing, and dissemination of culturally relevant and sustainable interventions that reduce the risk of HIV and other STIs in African American youth.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-RN (01))
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Dankwa-Mullan, Irene
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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Lloyd, Stacey W; Ferguson, Yvonne Owens; Corbie-Smith, Giselle et al. (2012) The role of public schools in HIV prevention: perspectives from African Americans in the rural South. AIDS Educ Prev 24:41-53
Corbie-Smith, Giselle; Adimora, Adaora A; Youmans, Selena et al. (2011) Project GRACE: a staged approach to development of a community-academic partnership to address HIV in rural African American communities. Health Promot Pract 12:293-302
Akers, Aletha Y; Muhammad, Melvin R; Corbie-Smith, Giselle (2011) "When you got nothing to do, you do somebody": A community's perceptions of neighborhood effects on adolescent sexual behaviors. Soc Sci Med 72:91-9
Akers, Aletha Y; Yonas, Michael; Burke, Jessica et al. (2011) "Do you want somebody treating your sister like that?": qualitative exploration of how African American families discuss and promote healthy teen dating relationships. J Interpers Violence 26:2165-85
Cene, Crystal W; Akers, Aletha Y; Lloyd, Stacey W et al. (2011) Understanding social capital and HIV risk in rural African American communities. J Gen Intern Med 26:737-44
Corbie-Smith, Giselle; Akers, Aletha; Blumenthal, Connie et al. (2010) Intervention mapping as a participatory approach to developing an HIV prevention intervention in rural African American communities. AIDS Educ Prev 22:184-202
Akers, Aletha Y; Youmans, Selena; Lloyd, Stacy W et al. (2010) Views of young, rural African Americans of the role of community social institutions in HIV prevention. J Health Care Poor Underserved 21:1-12
Akers, Aletha Y; Schwarz, Eleanor Bimla; Borrero, Sonya et al. (2010) Family discussions about contraception and family planning: a qualitative exploration of black parent and adolescent perspectives. Perspect Sex Reprod Health 42:160-7
Coker-Appiah, Dionne Smith; Akers, Aletha Y; Banks, Bahby et al. (2009) In their own voices: rural African-American youth speak out about community-based HIV prevention interventions. Prog Community Health Partnersh 3:275-6
Coker-Appiah, Dionne Smith; Akers, Aletha Y; Banks, Bahby et al. (2009) In their own voices: rural African American youth speak out about community-based HIV prevention interventions. Prog Community Health Partnersh 3:301-12