Tool assesses the readiness of black churches to engage in health disparities research
Research Activities, July 2012, No. 383
A new development in health disparities research is the creation of partnerships between academic centers and churches, particularly churches serving the black community. Determining if they are ready to engage in such research efforts is important. A recent study outlines the use of an instrument designed to assess church readiness. The evaluated churches showed high levels of being prepared to engage in this research. Also, readiness was linked to the pastor's activities and sermon topics.
The instrument consists of two one-page scenarios detailing possible health promotion research projects involving weight management and nutrition interventions. These scenarios are followed by 15 items designed to determine how ready the church is to conduct the intervention and then assess it. For example, questions address finding leaders to conduct sessions, locations for sessions, and conducting pre- and post-tests. The researchers tested the instrument at 15 black churches in North Carolina.
Overall, the readiness level of the churches was high. Pastoral leadership and having funds set aside for health-related activities promoted readiness. Churches that had pastors who preached on nutrition or other health topics had higher readiness levels compared to churches with pastors who did not do this. Churches with high readiness levels also had budgeted funds designed for health promotion, screenings, etc. The researchers note that the instrument can be used by churches to measure their readiness progress and to engage churches in a discussion on health disparities research. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (T32 HS00032).
See "Assessing the readiness of black churches to engage in health disparities research," by Molly De Marco, Ph.D., M.P.H., Bryan Weiner, M.A., Ph.D., Shelly-Ann Meade, M.S., and others in the September/October 2011 Journal of the National Medical Association 103(9 & 10), pp. 960-967.