267508 Carrying the Burden: Perspectives of African American Pastors on Peer Support for People with Cancer

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 5:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Melissa A. Green, MPH , Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Justin Lucas, BS , The Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Laura Hanson, MD, MPH , Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll, Chapel Hill, NC
Michelle Hayes, BA , Sheps Center for Health Service Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Stacie Peacock, MHA , Project Compassion, Chapel Hill, NC
Moses Goldmon, EdD, MRE , Institute for Health, Social and community, Shaw University, Raleigh, NC
Tonya Armstrong, PhD, MTS , The Armstrong Center for Hope, Durham, NC
Sharon Elliott-Bynum, PhD, RN , CAARE, Inc, Durham, NC
Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD, MSc , TraCS Community Engagement Core, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Persons living with serious illness like cancer experience physical, emotional and spiritual suffering that may affect their quality of life. For African Americans facing cancer, black churches are trusted sources of support and ideal settings to improve access to supportive care. We report themes of focus groups with pastors of black churches and explore church leader adoption of the Support Team Model. The model prepares lay volunteers to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support in a coordinated way to one or more persons with illness.

The study design used a semi-structured discussion format to elicit pastor perceptions of supportive care needs of congregation members diagnosed with cancer, and to introduce the volunteer support team model as a potential approach to meet these needs. Discussion sessions were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for themes using Atlas ti. Church and pastor demographics were collected and examined for characteristics distinguishing church adoption of the Support Team Model.

Pastors and representatives from 23 churches participated in focus groups. Pastors describe the needs of church members facing cancer from a holistic perspective and recognize opportunities for synergistic faith-health collaboration. The majority of pastors expressed interest in the support team model. Sixty-three representatives participated in support team training; ultimately six churches formed teams to support members with cancer or other serious illness.

The results of this study have implications regarding potential benefits of faith-health collaborations and black churches as a source of supportive care to reduce silent suffering among individuals facing cancer.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe cancer survivor care needs observed by pastors. Discuss church adoption of a cancer support team model.

Keywords: Faith Community, Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project coordinator of several federally and foundation funded grants. I have actively contributed to the concept, development, and evaluation of the Circles of Care pilot submitted in this abstract.
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.