Black-white health disparities in cardiopulmonary diseases can be reduced by behavioral interventions to improve diet and increase physical activity in African Americans. African Americans have experienced reduced benefit from behavioral interventions due to lack of cultural tailoring and mistrust of medical research. Church-based interventions have the potential to overcome these barriers and have had success in improving diet and activity. Using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach may increase engagement in intervention among church leaders and result in greater effectiveness. The Rush Clergy Health Partnership is a CBPR partnership which is optimally positioned to design, implement, and achieve successful results from a church-based behavioral intervention for African Americans. This Partnership is a university-community collaboration that was initiated by the community. It draws on an innovative "train the trainer" model where church leaders make lifestyle changes first and then are well-equipped to model and advocate for these changes in church peers.
Aims of the project are to assess community needs, develop an intervention for the congregation, and test it in a preliminary pilot study. These goals will be accomplished through the following aims: 1) Collaboratively design and conduct a needs assessment, 2) identify the target condition of the intervention, 3) develop the intervention methodology by refining the existing Clergy/Lay Leader Lifestyle Programs, developing appropriate environmental-level strategies, and developing spiritually-based print materials, 4) develop a plan for collaborative oversight of data collection and sharing of interim data, 5) conduct a 12-month cluster randomized pilot study in which 6 churches are randomized to an intervention or a delayed intervention control arm, 6) assess the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention, 7) Develop and implement a dissemination plan, 8) evaluate the effectiveness of the collaboration process, and 9) Obtain estimates needed for subsequent trial and prepare grant proposal.
To reduce black-white health disparities, culturally-tailored interventions are needed to improve diet and increase physical activity in African Americans. In the proposed research, a partnership consisting of black pastors and researchers will collaboratively develop and design a pilot church-based behavioral intervention to improve lifestyle behaviors in African American church members.