147767 Understanding CHOICES: Examining a model faith-based intervention to improve CVD outcomes in African American communities

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Verna L. Welch, PhD, MPH , Cardiovascular Research Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Jonathan B. VanGeest, PhD , WellStar College of Health and Human Services, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA
African Americans experience a disproportionate burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related death and disability compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Community-based interventions have become an integral component of heath prevention programs targeting at-risk populations. In particular, many faith-based initiatives have focused on CVD prevention, as the social support networks, communication patterns, and high CVD risk factor prevalence within African American churches contribute to the overall effectiveness of such programs. CHOICES (Changing Health Outcomes by Improving Cardiovascular Education and Screenings) is a model faith-based program in which local churches work in partnership with a national medical association to improve CVD outcomes in the communities they serve. Piloted in twenty churches in five cities nationwide, CHOICES trains lay health leaders and provides churches with tools (education, hands-on training, and equipment) needed to improve the health of their communities. This includes a 7-step biblically-based curriculum to educate participants about the dangers of CVD and methods to reduce risk and to equip participants to accurately measure and monitor CVD risk factors, including hypertension. In this study, we critically assess the development and implementation of this model faith-based intervention with special attention given to its unique community-professional partnership. We also make specific recommendations for improving the program and for replication in other communities.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives: 1) discuss racial disparities in CVD; 2) introduce a model faith-based intervention to improve CVD outcomes in African American communities; and 3) evaluate the development and implementation of this program, with recommendations for replication in other settings.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.