The Role of Faith-Based Institutions in Addressing Health Disparities: A Case Study of an Initiative in the Southwest Bronx

Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, USA.
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (Impact Factor: 1.1). 06/2006; 17(2 Suppl):9-19. DOI: 10.1353/hpu.2006.0088
Source: PubMed


Although many public health initiatives have been implemented through collaborations with faith-based institutions, little is known about best practices for developing such programs. Using a community-based participatory approach, this case study examines the implementation of an initiative in the Bronx, New York, that is designed to educate community members about health promotion and disease management and to mobilize church members to seek equal access to health care services. The study used qualitative methods, including the collaborative development of a logic model for the initiative, focus groups, interviews, analysis of program reports, and participant observation. The paper examines three key aspects of the initiative's implementation: (1) the engagement of the church leadership; (2) the use of church structures as venues for education and intervention; and (3) changes in church policies. Key findings include the importance of pre-existing relationships within the community and the prominent agenda-setting role played by key pastors, and the strength of the Coalition's dual focus on health behaviors and health disparities. Given the churches' demonstrated ability to pull people together, to motivate and to inspire, there is great potential for faith-based interventions, and models developed through such interventions, to address health disparities.

Download full-text


Available from: Neil S Calman
  • Source
    • "Moreover, in recent years, the church has become an advocate of health promotion and disease prevention as racial disparities in health, and quality of life have become more evident. It has done this by providing health promotion and disease prevention programs run through locally organized health fairs in partnership with public health agencies (Kaplan et al. 2006). Though the African American church has been involved in health promotion and disease prevention efforts in areas such as breast and cervical cancer (Matthews et al. 2006), cardiovascular disease (Yanek et al. 2001), diabetes (Samuel-Hodge et al. 2006), healthy nutrition (Resnicow et al. 2004), and physical activity (Wilcox et al. 2007), there is a notable absence of programs to address HIV/AIDS despite its severity within the African American community (Smith et al. 2005; Francis et al. 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Though race and region are not by themselves risk factors for HIV infection, regional and racial disparities exist in the burden of HIV/AIDS in the US. Specifically, African Americans in the southern US appear to bear the brunt of this burden due to a complex set of upstream factors like structural and cultural influences that do not facilitate HIV/AIDS awareness, HIV testing, or sexual risk-reduction techniques while perpetuating HIV/AIDS-related stigma. Strategies proposed to mitigate the burden among this population have included establishing partnerships and collaborations with non-traditional entities like African American churches and other faith-based organizations. Though efforts to partner with the African American church are not necessarily novel, most of these efforts do not present a model that focuses on building the capacity of the African American church to address these upstream factors and sustain these interventions. This article will describe Project Fostering AIDS Initiatives That Heal (F.A.I.T.H), a faith-based model for successfully developing, implementing, and sustaining locally developed HIV/AIDS prevention interventions in African American churches in South Carolina. This was achieved by engaging the faith community and the provision of technical assistance, grant funding and training for project personnel. Elements of success, challenges, and lessons learned during this process will also be discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of Religion and Health
  • Source
    • "This vision can then be translated into a plan of action that guides intervention development, implementation and evaluation. Despite this rhetoric, there is little discussion in the literature of logic model development using a participatory process (Dwyer 2003; Wilfreda et al. 2003; Hernandez and Hodges 2006; Kaplan et al. 2006). This article describes a process leading to the development of a logic model for youth mental health promotion using a participatory approach in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although logic models are now touted as an important component of health promotion planning, implementation and evaluation, there are few published manuscripts that describe the process of logic model development, and fewer which do so with community involvement, despite the increasing emphasis on participatory research. This paper describes a process leading to the development of a logic model for a youth mental health promotion intervention using a participatory approach in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. First, a needs assessment, including quantitative and qualitative data collection was carried out with children, parents and teachers. The second phase was identification of a priority health issue and analysis of determinants. The final phase in the construction of the logic model involved development of an intervention. The process was iterative and resulted in a more grounded depiction of the pathways of influence informed by evidence. Constructing a logic model with community input ensured that the intervention was more relevant to community needs, feasible for implementation and more likely to be sustainable.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Health Policy and Planning
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Project F.A.I.T.H. (Fostering AIDS Initiatives that Heal) was established in January 2006 to reduce the stigma of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among African American faith-based organizations in South Carolina. During its first year, Project F.A.I.T.H. funded 22 churches to provide HIV-related programs and services to their congregations and surrounding communities. To determine the baseline level of HIV-related knowledge and stigmatizing attitudes, we conducted a survey with parishioners, pastors, and care team members at Project F.A.I.T.H. churches. During 2007, 20 Project F.A.I.T.H. churches conducted cross-sectional surveys with 1,445 parishioners, 61 pastors, and 109 care team members measuring their HIV-related knowledge and stigmatizing attitudes. While most parishioners were very knowledgeable about HIV transmission via unprotected sex and needle sharing during injection drug use, they were less knowledgeable about transmission via casual contact, mosquitoes, donating blood, and an HIV test. Overall, HIV-related stigma was low at Project F.A.I.T.H. churches. However, males and older parishioners (aged > or = 65 years) were significantly less knowledgeable and had greater HIV-related stigma than females and younger parishioners. Pastors and care team members at Project F.A.I.T.H. churches were significantly more knowledgeable and harbored significantly less stigma than their parishioners. To effectively address HIV-related stigma at African American churches, educational programs must reinforce the ways in which HIV can and cannot be transmitted, and pay particular attention to educating males and older populations. These findings may be helpful to HIV-prevention efforts targeting African American faith-based organizations in South Carolina and elsewhere.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · Public Health Reports
Show more