249623 Mobilizing the faith based community in the Mississippi Delta to Address and Reduce Occurrences of Chronic Diseases

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jackie Hawkins, MRPP , Mississippi Delta Health Collaborative/Office of Preventive Health, Mississippi State Department of Health, Greenwood, MS
Ella Jackson, RN , Community Based Organization, Abundant Living Community Organization, Jackson, MS
Background: The death rate for heart disease in the MS Delta is 267.8 per 100,000, higher than national and state averages. African Americans (AA) account for the highest mortality rates of heart disease in the Delta. There is a recognized need for churches to be involved to change the health of AA communities.

Objective: To develop capacity of AA churches to address risk factors for heart disease and promote healthy lifestyles. Methods: 24 AA churches were selected through a competitive process to: 1) identify an individual to be trained as a Certified Congregational Health Nurse (CHN) or a Congregational Health Worker (CHW); 2) establish a Health and Wellness Ministry; 3) adopt policy to support healthy behaviors; 4) conduct health risk assessments including medical history, blood pressure, blood glucose, blood cholesterol and body mass index; and 5) provide free fresh fruits and vegetables through the development of church gardens. Pre-post surveys were conducted to assess knowledge and behavior.

Results: 12 nurses were certified as CHNs and 14 individuals were trained as CHWs. Over 5 month period, over 600 screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose were conducted and 24 churches developed gardens. Additionally, pre-post survey results revealed an increase of fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and an increase in knowledge of how to prevent and manage disease. Conclusion: Data assessments reveal promise in empowering AA communities to improve health outcomes through the institution of faith-based health and wellness programs. This program will be replicated in neighboring communities.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Describe how to develop capacity of AA churches to address risk factors for heart disease and List ways to promote healthy lifestyles.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director for the Mississippi Delta Health Collaborative, in which this program falls. I am a co-author also.
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.