A Community Health Advisor Program to reduce cardiovascular risk among rural African-American women.

Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.
Health Education Research (Impact Factor: 1.66). 01/2009; 24(4):622-33. DOI: 10.1093/her/cyn063
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Uniontown, Alabama Community Health Project trained and facilitated Community Health Advisors (CHAs) in conducting a theory-based intervention designed to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) among rural African-American women. The multiphased project included formative evaluation and community organization, CHA recruitment and training, community intervention and maintenance. Formative data collected to develop the training, intervention and evaluation methods and materials indicated the need for programs to increase knowledge, skills and resources for changing behaviors that increase the risk of CVD. CHAs worked in partnership with staff to develop, implement, evaluate and maintain strategies to reduce risk for CVD in women and to influence city officials, business owners and community coalitions to facilitate project activities. Process data documented sustained increases in social capital and community capacity to address health-related issues, as well as improvements in the community's physical infrastructure. This project is unique in that it documents that a comprehensive CHA-based intervention for CVD can facilitate wide-reaching changes in capacity to address health issues in a rural community that include improvements in community infrastructure and are sustained beyond the scope of the originally funded intervention.

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