Learning About Urban Congregations and HIV/AIDS

Community-Based Foundations for Developing Congregational Health Interventions

Published In: Journal of Urban Health, v. 87, no. 4, July 2010, p. 617-630

by Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Peter Mendel, David E. Kanouse, Ricky N. Bluthenthal, Laura Werber, Jennifer Hawes-Dawson, Michael Mata, Clyde W. Oden

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Religious congregations are important community institutions that could help fight HIV/AIDS; however, barriers exist, particularly in the area of prevention. Formative, participatory research is needed to understand the capacity of congregations to address HIV/AIDS. This article describes a study that used community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches to learn about congregation-sponsored HIV activities. CBPR strategies were used throughout the study, including proposal development, community expert interviews, Community Advisory Board, congregational telephone survey, congregational case studies, and congregational feedback sessions. Involving community consultants, experts, and advisory board members in all stages of the study helped the researchers to conceptualize congregational involvement in HIV, be more sensitive to potential congregational concerns about the research, achieve high response rates, and interpret and disseminate findings. Providing preliminary case findings to congregational participants in an interactive feedback session improved data quality and relationships with the community. Methods to engage community stakeholders can lay the foundation for future collaborative interventions.

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