Beyond the Cathedral: Building Trust to Engage the African American Community in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Center for Minority Health (CMH) at the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), University of Pittsburgh. .
Health Promotion Practice (Impact Factor: 0.55). 10/2009; 10(4):485-9. DOI: 10.1177/1524839909342848
Source: PubMed


Effective efforts to eliminate health disparities must be grounded in strong community partnerships and trusting relationships between academic institutions and minority communities. However, there are often barriers to such efforts, including the frequent need to rely on time-limited funding mechanisms that take categorical approaches. This article provides an overview of health promotion and disease prevention projects implemented through the Community Outreach and Information Dissemination Core (COID) of the Center for Minority Health, within the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. The COID is one of five Cores that comprised the University of Pittsburgh's NIH Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, and Research on Disparities in Health and Training (EXPORT Health) funded from 2002 to 2007 by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Based in large part on the success of the community engagement activities, in 2007, the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, designated the CMH as a Research Center of Excellence on Minority Health Disparities. COID major initiatives included the Community Research Advisory Board, Health Disparity Working Groups, Health Advocates in Reach, Healthy Class of 2010, and the Healthy Black Family Project. Lessons learned may provide guidance to other academic institutions, community-based organizations, and health departments who seek to engage minority communities in changing social norms to support health promotion and disease prevention.

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    • "Recruitment took place in various community settings in these neighborhoods, including churches, retirement centers, community health fairs/events, barbershops and beauty salons, and community centers. In addition, participants were recruited through word-of-mouth networks (Ford et al. 2009; Thomas and Quinn 2008). Participants were eligible if they were 18 years or older, spoke and read English, and were able to provide informed consent. "
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    ABSTRACT: Few studies examine the use of family history to influence risk perceptions in the African American population. This study examined the influence of a family health history (FHH) intervention on risk perceptions for breast (BRCA), colon (CRC), and prostate cancers (PRCA) among African Americans in Pittsburgh, PA. Participants (nā€‰=ā€‰665) completed pre- and post-surveys and FHHs. We compared their objective and perceived risks, classified as average, moderate, or high, and examined the accuracy of risk perceptions before and after the FHH intervention. The majority of participants had accurate risk perceptions post-FHH. Of those participants who were inaccurate pre-FHH, 43.3%, 43.8%, and 34.5% for BRCA, CRC, and PRCA, respectively, adopted accurate risk perceptions post-FHH intervention. The intervention was successful in a community setting. It has the potential to lead to healthy behavior modifications because participants adopted accurate risk perceptions. We identified a substantial number of at-risk individuals who could benefit from targeted prevention strategies, thus decreasing racial/ethnic cancer disparities.
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    • "The Center operates from a definition of health that embodies a sense of well-being instead of the absence of disease which then allows partnerships to incorporate a wider range of environmental, social, economic, behavioral, and biological factors that contribute to wellbeing (Lasker, Weiss, & Miller, 2001). The history of the Center and a brief description of its major projects are described elsewhere (Ford et al., 2009). The partnerships developed to initiate building a capacity infrastructure to address health disparities in Pittsburgh, PA culminate in the description of the Healthy Black Family Project (HBFP): "
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    ABSTRACT: This study seeks to examine the process of building the capacity to address health disparities in several urban African American neighborhoods. An inter-organizational network consisting of a research university, community members, community organizations, media partners, and foundations was formed to develop a community-based intervention designed to provide health promotion and disease prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes and hypertension. In-depth qualitative interviews (n = 18) with foundation executives and project directors, civic organization leadership, community leaders, county epidemiologist, and university partners were conducted. Our study contextualizes a process to build a public health partnership using cultural, community, organizational, and societal factors necessary to address health disparities. Results showed 5 important factors to build organizational capacity: leadership, institutional commitment, trust, credibility, and inter-organizational networks. These factors reflected other important organizational and community capacity indicators such as: community context, organizational policies, practices and structures, and the establishment of new commitments and partnerships important to comprehensively address urban health disparities. Understanding these factors to address African American health disparities will provide lessons learned for health educators, researchers, practitioners, foundations, and communities interested in building and sustaining capacity efforts through the design, implementation, and maintenance of a community-based health promotion intervention.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Prevention & Intervention Community
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    ABSTRACT: Achieving health equity, driven by the elimination of health disparities, is a goal of Healthy People 2020. In recent decades, the improvement in health status has been remarkable for the U.S. population as a whole. However, racial and ethnic minority populations continue to lag behind whites with a quality of life diminished by illness from preventable chronic diseases and a life span cut short by premature death. We examine a conceptual framework of three generations of health disparities research to understand (a) data trends, (b) factors driving disparities, and (c) solutions for closing the gap. We propose a new, fourth generation of research grounded in public health critical race praxis, utilizing comprehensive interventions to address race, racism, and structural inequalities and advancing evaluation methods to foster our ability to eliminate disparities. This new generation demands that we address the researcher's own biases as part of the research process.
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