Key attributes of health ministries in African American churches: an exploratory survey.
BACKGROUND: Church leaders are considered instrumental in the successful implementation of church-based health programs. However it is unknown which program attributes they perceive as important and which program attributes exist in their congregations. OBJECTIVE: To explore the perceived importance and existence of health ministry-related attributes in predominately African American churches. METHODS: Cross-sectional survey, with a convenience sample of 98 registered church leaders attending a conference on health and spirituality in Raleigh, NC. Attendees were asked to complete a brief survey assessing perceived importance (very important vs. somewhat or not important) and existence (yes vs. no) of 20, health ministry-related attributes in their churches. Percent perceived as very important, percent existence, and their differences were assessed for each attribute. RESULTS: Seventy-two (73.5%) of the attendees completed the survey. Attributes perceived as very important were: displaying health information in churches (73.6%); hosting health fairs for church members (73.2%); pastoral, church-based Internet access (70.8%); willingness to receive foundation funding for activities (66.7%); and incorporating health messages in Sunday bulletins (65.3%). For each of these program attributes, there was a gap between the proportion rating them "very important" and existence of the attribute in their own congregations (range diff in %: -8.3 to -22.2). LIMITATIONS: Lack of generalizability due to sample selection and homogeneity. CONCLUSIONS: Among leaders surveyed, despite perceived importance, attributes did not exist for all. Future studies should evaluate whether attributes considered important by church leadership parallel an increase in the development and maintenance of health program activities, and are associated with congregation health behaviors and health outcomes.
Carter-Edwards, L; Jallah, YB; Goldmon, MV; Roberson, JT; Hoyo, C
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