Online Program

Involving older African Americans in a faith-based clinical trials program: Policy implications for health research

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 5:10 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Paula Frew, PhD, MA, MPH, Emory University School of Medicine & Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Decatur, GA

Jay Schamel, BS, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University, Decatur, GA
Heidi Gruhler, MPH, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Kelli O'Connell, BS, Department of Biostatistics, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Laura Randall, MPH, Department of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Underrepresentation of older African Americans is a serious problem in medical research. This study presents results from a faith-based clinical trial educational program and highlights corresponding policy implications.


We sought ≥210 Black/African American participants ≥50 years from African-American churches (N=6) that were matched on denomination (i.e., Baptist, AME, SDA) and congregation size. The 112 intervention group participants engaged in three information sessions covering clinical trials and  health disparities; 109 control participants completed surveys. Both groups were continuously informed about opportunities to join clinical studies. Multivariable linear mixed models estimated the intervention effects participants’ intentions to seek information about and participate in clinical trials, and explored within-group changes in these intentions.


Intervention participation was not significantly associated with increased levels of the two intention measurements.  However, within the control group, intention to seek information about trials increased significantly by 3 months (mean difference= 1.98, p<0.05), and 6 months (mean difference=1.49, p<0.05). Younger age was associated with increased intention to seek information at 3 months (p<0.01and 6 months (p<0.01), and with increased intention to join trials at 3 months (p<0.001) and at 6 months (p<0.05).


Results indicate that direct faith-based outreach improved intervention participants' intention to seek clinical study information. However, we cannot conclusively attribute this change to educational sessions; leveraging health ministers to provide targeted trial information may be sufficient. Additionally, those ≤70 years expressed greater interest in trial participation, suggesting a need for clinical-organizational policies to further address underrepresentation of those facing significant participatory challenges.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the design and components of a novel faith-based program for older African Americans to build awareness and involvement in clinical research. Assess the potential policy implications resulting from the program research findings.

Keyword(s): African American, Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor in Medicine and Public Health and the 2014 APHA-PHEHP Early Career Award winner. I am the PI of this R03 study and have extensive experience presenting at international and national meetings, including APHA, and have an extensive publication list. I am also the senior author of this study and have overseen all aspects of the study development, implmentation, and analyses. I also have been PI and Co-Investigator on >20 projects.
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.