157702 Your Blessed Health: A Case Study of Balancing Church Doctrine and HIV Education

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 9:30 AM

Bettina Campbell, MSW , YOUR Center, Flint, MI
Derek M. Griffith, PhD , School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Kevin J. Robinson, DrPH, MHA, MSW , Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA
E. Yvonne Lewis , Faith Access to Community Economic Development, Flint, MI
Marisela Rodela, MPH, MSW , NACCHO, Washington, DC
E. Hill DeLoney , Flint Odyssey House Health Awareness Center, Flint, MI
Erica Leverette , Faith Access to Community Economic Development, Flint, MI
Arlene Sparks , GCCARD, Flint, MI
Faith-based organizations have remained important institutions both in the African American community and as key factors in addressing the HIV epidemic. Faith-based organizations must balance their vision and interpretation of church doctrine and decide how to address HIV, a critical health issue. This presentation describes Your Blessed Health, an HIV educational pilot project that trains leadership teams from local churches to implement an HIV education intervention for youth ages 12-18 and their adult guardians. This intervention includes basic HIV education and a menu of options to allow leadership teams to tailor the intervention to their organization. By allowing for the individuality of the churches, respecting the denominational doctrine and vision of the pastor, engaging the pastor's wives, and supporting the leadership team's knowledge of what will work in their specific organization, this intervention has successfully trained 50 church representatives to participate in this pilot intervention. The preliminary data indicates the leadership team members feel more competent to address HIV in their organizations and they are more comfortable presenting this health information to youth. Although churches have been portrayed as being ambivalent to the HIV epidemic at best, we have found churches thirsty for knowledge and willing to promote HIV prevention when HIV is presented as not just a sex or moral issue, but a health issue, particularly when adult guardians are also engaged and trained. Fundamental to successfully engaging faith-based organizations is recognizing their need to reconcile church doctrine and the need to address critical health issues.

Learning Objectives:
(1) better understand the elements of a CBPR faith-based HIV/AIDS prevention program for adolescents; (2) better understand the importance of including these program elements in the church setting; and (3)a rticulate the salient issues in evaluating faith-based HIV/AIDS prevention and outreach programs for adolescents.

Keywords: Faith Community, HIV Interventions

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.