Role of Black Churches in Health Promotion Programs

Lessons from the Los Angeles Mammography Promotion in Churches Program

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 92, no. 5, May 2002, p. 805-810

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2002

by Susan Markens, Sarah Fox, Bonnie Taub, Marylou Gilbert

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OBJECTIVES: This article assesses pastor-level factors that affect the successful recruitment and implementation of community-based health promotion programs in Black churches. METHODS: Semistructured interviews with 16 pastors of Black churches were analyzed for content. RESULTS: The authors found that although the involvement of Black pastors in an array of secular activities makes them open to participate in health programs, their overcommitment to other issues can negatively influence their ability to participate. Second, although Black pastors appreciate being included in and benefiting from health research, minorities' history of being underserved and exploited can lead to suspiciousness and reluctance to participate. CONCLUSIONS: The authors' findings suggest that those interested in developing church-based health programs in the Black community must be attuned to how the same factors can both facilitate and hinder a program's development

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