The proposed study focuses on African Americans (AAs) - a population experiencing multiple health disparities. Promotion of healthy behaviors among AAs across the continuum of care from prevention to diagnosis and treatment services is critical to addressing AA health disparities. Black churches may be an ideal setting for health promotion interventions as they have extensive influence and reach in AA communities, high AA attendance rates, and a strong emphasis on health. Yet, limited studies exist on AA church-based health interventions that support a continuum of health services from prevention to linkage to care with church members and community members using church outreach services. This study focuses on planning, developing, and pilot testing an AA church-based multilevel health promotion intervention to address an AA health disparity. Using community-based participatory (CBPR) principles, our faith-health- community-academic partnership's (Heartland Health Network) CAB will assist in engaging faith and other community partners in all aspects of this study from setting the research agenda to pilot intervention development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of findings. In Year 1, the planning phase will consist of: a) conducting a needs assessment survey with 10 churches (n=450 adult church members total) and 10 health and community-based organizations (n=50 key stakeholders) to identify a health condition that disproportionately impacts AAs and feasible multilevel intervention strategies;b) holding a church/community forum to review needs assessment survey findings and explore facilitators/barriers and a plausible multilevel intervention strategies;and c) guided by the CAB and needs assessment findings, developing a culturally/religiously tailored, multilevel health promotion intervention that engages church health liaisons and health providers in promoting prevention, health screening, and linkage to care. In Years 2 and 3, a 2- or 3- arm pilot intervention will be tested with 6 AA churches (N=400 church and community members) assessed at baseline and 12-months. Post study focus groups will be conducted with church leaders and CAB members (n=40 total) to assess the CBPR process used in the study.
This study is the first to test a multilevel health promotion intervention in African American (AA) churches through delivery of prevention, health screening, and linkage to care services to AA church and community members. This model could have a significant public health impact by providing a faith community engagement model for implementing scalable, wide-reaching socio-ecological interventions and supporting AA faith leaders with a religiously and culturally-appropriate church-based intervention strategies and tools.