Online Program

Evaluation of faith-based health programming in the bronx: Successes and challenges

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Linda Weiss, PhD, Center for Evaluation and Applied Research, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Charmaine Ruddock, MS, Bronx Health REACH, New York, NY
Jaime Gutierrez, MPH, Center for Evaluation and Applied Research, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Carlos Devia, MA, Bronx Health REACH- NY CEED, Institute for Family Health, New York, NY
Joyce Davis, MDiv (candidate), Walker Memorial Baptist Church, Bronx, NY
Tongtan Chantarat, MPH, CLC, Center for Evaluation and Applied Research, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Maxine Golub, MPH, Planning and Development, Institute for Urban Family Health, New York, NY
Toni Carter, RN, Agape Love Christian Center, Bronx, NY
Ellenrita Purcaro, BA, Highbridge Community Life Center, Bronx, NY
Rosa Rosen, JD, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, New York, NY
Evalina Irish-Spencer, MS, RD, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, New York, NY
Brenda Barretto, CMA, First Pentecostal Church of Jerome, Bronx, NY
Robert Foley, DMin, DD, Cosmopolitan Church of the Lord Jesus, Bronx, NY
Neil Calman, MD, Department of Family Medicine & Community Health, Institute for Family Health and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Background: Faith-based health programming effectively engages minority populations that may have limited access to and trust in healthcare settings. Evaluation of such programs is necessary. Bronx Health REACH, a coalition of 70+ organizations, developed the Faith-Based Outreach Initiative (FBOI), which offered programming to reduce racial and ethnic disparities related to obesity and diabetes. It was evaluated using CBPR methods.

Methods: The FBOI evaluation was overseen by a Community Research Committee (CRC), which included pastors, community members, health professionals, staff, and researchers. The evaluation focused on process and outcomes, utilizing qualitative and quantitative methods, including interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Responsibility for data collection was shared between evaluation staff, FBOI staff, and project consultants. Interpretation of findings was the responsibility of the CRC.

Results: The CRC provided ongoing and valuable input to the evaluation, and our mixed-method approach facilitated collection of important individual and organizational data that provided insight into multiple aspects of the FBOI. Evaluation challenges included difficulty scheduling research activities due to competing priorities of churches; difficulty assessing individual change because of the voluntary nature of church activities; and inconsistent adherence to some aspects of the research protocol. To address these challenges, results were regularly discussed in CRC meetings and reported to participating churches, evaluation training was provided, and data from multiple methods were used to confirm study findings.

Conclusions: Conducting research on health programming in faith-settings is essential and informative, but challenges should be addressed proactively through open communication, regular reporting, training, and a mixed methods research approach.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the practices for effective collaborations involving faith institutions, health professionals, and researchers. Describe anticipated challenges in evaluation of faith-based health programming. Demonstrate the relative strengths of qualitative and quantitative methods in examining faith-based health programming.

Keyword(s): Faith Community, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the director of the evaluation of the Faith Based Outreach Initiative, described in the abstract. I am the Director of the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research at the NY Academy of Medicine and have worked on a number of studies focused on health promotion.
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.