A Systematic Review of Church-Based Health Interventions Among Latinos

Published in: Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (2019). doi: 10.1007/s10903-019-00941-2

Posted on RAND.org on March 10, 2020

by Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Claudia Rodriguez

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Latinos face healthcare access barriers and are highly religious. Church-based health interventions could help address these disparities. We conducted a systematic review of church-based health interventions among Latinos using multiple search terms and databases. The 21 articles reviewed represented 19 interventions. Only six were tested through full-scale randomized controlled trials and five had statistically significant improvements in health-related outcomes. Most (16) utilized groups classes, eight promoted screening or preventive services, and three provided these on-site. Few intervened at multiple levels (e.g., individual, group, and community) and only three utilized pastors' sermons to deliver health-related messages. Church-based health interventions among Latinos are nascent, with only a handful of full-scale trials. Various pilot studies demonstrating feasibility across diverse health conditions suggest model adaptability. Larger studies with objectively measured outcomes and interventions that address multiple levels and structural issues are needed to ensure improvements in Latinos' access and health.

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