206390 Findings of a Community-Based Genetics Education Intervention to Promote Positive Lifestyle Changes in Urban African American Populations

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:30 AM

Finie K. Richardson, MPH , Department of Community and Family Medicine, Howard University, Washington, DC
Jo-Anne Manswell Butty, PhD , Center for Urban Progress, Howard University, Washington, DC
Charmaine D. M. Royal, PhD , Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC
Valerie Robinson-Hill, MPH, CHES , National Technical Assistance Center, Epilespy Foundation of America, Landover, MD
Charles P. Mouton, MD, MS , Department of Community and Family Medicine, Howard University, Washington, DC
Health-related behaviors and genetic predisposition can increase the risk of unfavorable health outcomes. However, effective interventions have the potential to promote positive behavioral changes and reduce health risks. With this in mind, the National Human Genome Center at Howard University engaged community representatives to develop culturally appropriate genetics education materials for African Americans as part of the Community Genetics Education Network Project (CGEN). One of four projects funded by a collaborative agreement between the March of Dimes and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Howard's goal is to promote positive lifestyle changes that reduce health risks associated with family history.

A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the implementation of education workshops to empower community members and enable them to understand factors related to four health themes: family health history (FHH), gene-environment interactions, preconceptions about genetic differences, and racial health disparities. Two educational booklets and a trigger video were piloted as learning tools. Changes in knowledge, intentions, and behavior were assessed.

Findings show significant knowledge gains from pretest to posttest in race and genetics concepts for the college graduate subgroup. FHH content knowledge increased significantly for participants younger than 55 years. Two month follow-up data indicated that after the workshops, 68% of respondents discussed their FHH, 40% improved dietary habits or exercise, 29% sought consultation about genetic risk factors, and 17% received genetic counseling. This project demonstrates the need for continued public health efforts to foster the collection of family health history information that can aid in health promotion activities.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify strategies to increase genetic literacy and promote positive lifestyle changes in the African American population 2. Identify the outcomes related to knowledge, intentions, and behaviors among participants in community education workshops 3. Determine public health implications of the Howard University Community Genetics Education Network Project

Keywords: African American, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Finie Hunter-Richardson is the Research Project Manager for the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the Howard University College of Medicine. She is the Project Coordinator for the Community Genetics Education Network Project and DC PrimCare, a network of primary care practices serving the DC Metropolitan area. Her professional background merges six years of translational and community-based research. She received her Master of Public Health degree from Howard University in 2005 upon completion of a three year Intramural Research Training Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center. She has co-authored several articles published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at numerous conferences.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.