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Memphis Healthy Churches: An Outreach Program of Christ Community Health Services (CCHS)

Slide Presentation from the AHRQ 2011 Annual Conference

On September 20, 2011, Georgia Oliver made this presentation at the 2011 Annual Conference. Select to access the PowerPoint® presentation (570 KB). 

Slide 1

Memphis Health Churches

An outreach program of Christ Community Health Services (CCHS)
A Federally Qualified Healthcare Center

Georgia M. Oliver, MS, BA, RN

AHRQ 2011
Eliminating Health Disparities Through Community Based Research

Bethesda, MD
September 20, 2011

Slide 2

Images: 4 charts of demographic information for Shelby County, TN are shown.

Slide 3

Image: Two charts displaying relative health importance in Shelby County, TN are shown.

Slide 4

Program Statement

Memphis Healthy Churches is positioned on the front line in the fight against preventable diseases in the African American Community including cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Currently, we provide disease prevention education in African American churches. Volunteer Health Representatives are trained to promote lifestyle changes and healthy behaviors in their congregation.

Slide 5

What is Memphis Healthy Churches?

  • Began in 1998, as a partnership with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation and CCHS, Inc as the ACCESS ( A Community-based Cancer Education and Support Services) Program.
  • In the first year, over 20 churches participated in the program.

Slide 6

What is Memphis Healthy Churches Continued

  • Due to the programs' successful reception, we seized the opportunity to include other major diseases that effect African Americans, such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke and HIV/AIDS.
  • In 1999, name changed to "Memphis Healthy Churches."
  • Since 1998, we have enrolled 100 churches, with 151 Church Health Representatives (CHR) participating in the program.

Slide 7

Original Stakeholders

Image: A flow chart shows the original stakeholders for Memphis Healthy Churches:

  • Christ Community Health Services.
  • Baptist Memorial Health Care.
  • University of Tennessee Dept. of Preventive Medicine.
  • Memphis Healthy Churches Advisory Council.
  • Memphis Healthy Churches:
    • Hope and Healing Center.
    • St. Francis Hospital.
    • Community HIV Network / St. Jude.
    • Local Health Affiliates.
    • Church Pastors.
    • Church Health Representatives.
    • Program Participants.

Slide 8

Image: A flow chart shows the Memphis Healthy Churches program flow, outlining the steps a pastor takes once entering the program to work in various services.

This program model may be adapted for other target populations.

Slide 9

Pastor's Role

  • Education is the cornerstone of awareness.
  • Pastors have the opportunity on a weekly basis to integrate health awareness into their sermons.
  • Pastors provide information that will assist their congregation in making informed health choices.
  • Pastors provide ongoing support and encouragement that helps their congregation be receptive to the activities offered from that health and wellness ministry.

Slide 10

The Church Health Representative Role

  • Usually already active in the church's Health Ministry.
  • Most of them have some medical background, i.e., RN, LPN, PA, CMA, CNA, but not required.
  • Appointed by the pastor.
  • Attends MHC quarterly meetings and workshops.
  • Organizes and designs health programs at their local church.
  • Reports activities, interventions, and outcomes to MHC.

*Church Health Representatives are not paid.

Slide 11

Who Trains the Volunteers/CHR?

  • Doctors.
  • Nurses.
  • Certified Diabetes Educator.
  • Psychologist.
  • Social Worker.
  • Education Specialist (HIV/AIDS).

Slide 12

How the Church Promotes Healthy Lifestyles

  • Resource Room.
  • Newsletter.
  • Community Workshops.
  • Health and Wellness Fairs.
  • Free Community Screenings.
  • Counseling.
  • Speaker's Bureau.
  • One on One Consultation.
  • Support Groups.
  • Training.
  • Quarterly Meeting.
  • Special Events.
  • Clergy Orientation Luncheon.

Slide 13

Measuring Healthy Outcomes

  • Monthly Reports.
  • Wellness Surveillance.
  • Event Summaries.
  • Self-reported Testimonies.

Slide 14

Church Based Wellness Surveillance

  • Memphis Healthy Churches developed a 4 page "wellness questionnaire."
  • The "wellness questionnaire" was conducted by University of TN Dept. of Preventive Medicine.
  • When asked, 88% of the participants indicated that they would participate in health related activities held at their church.
  • In 2001, 2,155 congregants from 20 churches, 98% of whom were African Americans participated in the inaugural administration of the survey.
  • In 2002, researchers state that this "represents the first collaborative effort to examine an array of modifiable risk factors that contribute to high mortality and morbidity among African Americans attending churches in Shelby County, TN."

Each church receives a profile of their survey results.

Slide 15

Lessons Learned

  • Many myths about African Americans in research were dispelled.
  • African Americans will complete the "wellness surveys."
  • How much time the CHR's are willing to volunteer their time for no pay.
  • If the pastor/clergy endorses the program, the congregation will follow.
  • Not all who attend churches located in the "hood" are poor.
  • African Americans with money, insurance and access to healthcare are faced with some of the same health disparities as those who have no insurance or healthcare.
  • Many just did not seek healthcare, i.e., annual check ups.
  • Highly educated members of the church did not understand how to manage their chronic disease.
  • There are not enough primary care providers in neighborhoods where the churches are located.
  • Church members will advocate for health policies that benefits them.
  • Staff Must flex time (Weekends, evenings, nights etc).
  • Transportation was a barrier.

Slide 16

What Did Not Work

  • Normal business hours (M-F 8AM-5PM).
  • Reaching the population without buy in from all stakeholders.
  • Offering education, support and services to the church solely based on local, state and national statistics.
  • Trying to sustain the program without a strategic plan or business plan.
  • Not having full time staff dedicated to the program.

Slide 17

Current Status of Memphis Healthy Churches

  • Memphis Healthy Churches partners with Healthy Memphis Common Table Diabetes For Life Program to reach 1,000 individuals living with Type2 diabetes through promotion of education, self-management and prevention.
  • Memphis Healthy Churches continues to support more than 100 congregations through—150 trained health representatives providing more than 156,000 health awareness encounters annually.

Slide 18

Adapted by other Organizations/Communities

"We have been contacted by several communities across the country to provide site visits and technical assistance on building infrastructure for viable health and wellness programs within churches."

Pittsburg (sp)
Buffalo, NY
Primary Care Associations
Washington County, PA Community Health Centers
Washington, DC National Black Caucus

Slide 19

Next Steps

  • Decrease in the number of congregations experiencing complications associated with diabetes by 20% by 2013.
  • Deliver culturally sensitive health and wellness programs by increasing unrestricted revenue by 20% annually over the next five years.
  • Develop a marketing plan to sell MHC program model in the form of a "Tool Kit" for successful faith-based health and wellness programs in 10 communities by 2014.
  • To increase MHC capacity by delivering health and wellness programs that produce measurable outcomes.
  • Become a training site for the Stanford Chronic Disease Self Management Program offering 10 workshops by 2013.
  • Develop a youth-focused replica of MHC in 5 congregations by 2014.
  • To become sustainable by generating funding through the sell of program replication tool kits and financial contributions from all member congregations by 2015.

Slide 20

Memphis Healthy Churches on The Web

Page last reviewed October 2014
Internet Citation: Memphis Healthy Churches: An Outreach Program of Christ Community Health Services (CCHS). October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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