236864 Reducing the burden of stroke in African American communities: Perspectives of the faith leaders of color

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jebose O. Okwumabua, PhD , Health and Sport Sciences, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Charles Williams, PhD , Department of Anthropology, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Stroke, the third leading cause of death in the United States, is disproportionately higher among African Americans compared to their Caucasian counterparts. The purpose of this study was to gather information, via focus group interviews, from a cross-section of the faith leaders of color in Tennessee about their perceptions, opinions, and attitudes concerning the high rates of stroke in communities of color in Tennessee, and the role of faith leaders toward addressing such disparities. Fifty-seven (57) male and female faith leaders participated in the study that constituted six focus groups of 8-12 participants per group. Participants ranged in age from 30 to 84 years (mean age = 54.6), and were drawn from six major counties/cities in Tennessee. Each group session lasted approximately 90 minutes. Four major themes emerged from the content analysis: (1) barriers to seeking preventive health services; (2) health behavior and utilization of the health care system; (3) barriers to building partnerships among faith leaders of color toward preventing strokes; and (4) prevention through partnerships. Perhaps the most intriguing finding from this investigation is the potential role of pastors' spouses as change agents toward reversing the trend of strokes and other leading chronic illnesses among the communities of color in Tennessee. Specifically, discussants underscored that an active involvement of pastors' spouses in addressing the stroke burden may foster primary and secondary prevention efforts by breaking the barriers toward partnerships among faith leaders and institutions of color. The implications of the study and recommendations for action plan are discussed.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to: (1) identify the relevance of prevention through partnerships among faith leaders/institutions of color toward mitigating the burden of stroke in African Americans; (2) discuss barriers to building partnerships among faith leaders of color in reducing the incidence of strokes in the communities of color; and (3) explain the potential role of pastors’ spouses as change agents in reversing the trend of strokes among the communities of color.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a terminal degree in community health education, and have been involved in community needs assessments and health behavior interventions with priority populations in the United States.
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.