5012.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - Board 8

Abstract #10776

Meaning of faith and health in two African American urban communities

Anna Frances Z. Wenger, PhD, RN, FAAN, Interfaith Health Program,Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 750 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA 30030, 404 592-1466, awenger@emory.edu and Keith O. Plowden, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, University of Maryland, 655 W.Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.

In an ethnographic field study on the meaning of faith and health in two African American urban neighborhoods, ethnocare emerged as the dominant pattern. This research study was related to the Interfaith Health Project located in a major southeastern city where 68% of the population is African American. In the study communities, the African American population was about 90%. The Interfaith Health Project was designed to promote health within faith communities by training congregational health promoters to provide leadership within their specific church or mosque, and to join together within the neighborhood to collaborate on health related projects.

This field study was based on Leininger's Culture Care Diversity and Universality theoretical model. Data collection included group interviews with two groups of congregational health promoters and selected faith community groups, and individual interviews with selected congregational health promoters and the pastor or imam of the faith community. Participant observation included participation in a health fair, various church activities, discussion meetings with faith communities' network councils and congregational health promoters.

Leininger's Data Analysis model was used to analyze the data continuously during the research process. Communicating care as a pattern emerged from categories of clusters of descriptions such as the following: Caring within the congregation, Care as community outreach, Characteristics of a caring person, Mutuality and reciprocity of care, Relationship of care to faith and health, Role of congregation in caring, Congregation as family care, Congregation as health care partner, and anticipating care needs. Other patterns and themes were also discovered in the data.

Learning Objectives: 1. Discuss the cultural relevance of the meanings of faith and health. 2. Describe the relationship of caring patterns to faith and health. 3. Identify the community health assets in these African American faith communities

Keywords: Faith Community, Culture

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Interfaith Health Program Rollins School of Public Health Emory University
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA