Development of a participatory capacity-BuilDing program for congregational HealtH leaDers in African American cHurcHes in tHe us soutH

Academic Article


  • African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes and colorectal cancer. Although studies have shown the effectiveness of spiritually based health interventions delivered by community health workers to African Americans, few have described the development of the capacity-building component. This article describes this process. The development of the Healthy Congregations Healthy Communities Program (HCHC) was guided through a community-based participatory research lens and included: 1) establishment of a community coalition; 2) identification by coalition members of churches as the best venues for health promotion strategies among African Americans; 3) recruitment of churches; 4) development of a training manual; 5) recruitment and training of congregational health leaders (CHLs); and 6) “Passing of the torch” from the coalition to the CHLs who implemented the intervention in their congregations. We trained 35 CHLs to promote awareness about diabetes and colorectal cancer using a culturally relevant, spiritually based curriculum. Pre- and post-test paired t-tests showed significant increases in CHLs’ knowledge of wellness (P<.001), colorectal cancer (P<.002), nutrition (P<.004), and lifestyle changes (P<.005). The community-academic partnership was successful in developing a culturally relevant, spiritually based capacity-building program for African American CHLs to implement health promotion strategies in their congregations and communities.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Morales-Alemán MM; Moore A; Scarinci IC
  • Start Page

  • 11
  • End Page

  • 18
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 1