Last updated on February 2018

Integration of Cancer Health Activities Into African American Churches


Brief description of study

This population-based application responds to the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant, Priority Program in Cancer Control. Recent years have seen a growing research interest in learning how to get known-effective health education strategies to reach more people who could benefit from them. An important part of this growing movement is a focus on sustained impact, or continued program benefit after the funding period is over. It is believed that the best way to achieive this sustained impact is through integrating the program into the host community at multiple levels. This innovative strategy has not been systematically tested in community-based settings, where the most vulnerable people can be reached. Since churches have a historical and ever-growing role in health promotion particularly among African Americans, they are an ideal place to reach this group for cancer education. The proposed project will compare two ways to apply a known-effective cancer educational strategy through African American churches: 1) a standard method vs. 2) a new method in which the churches integrate the strategy into their organizational structure and practice at multiple levels. It will be determined whether this "integrated approach" results in more effective and sustained cancer education and screening activities at both the church and individual levels over time. The educational strategy is one that has been used successfully in previous work: Project HEAL (Health through Early Awareness and Learning). Project HEAL is a series of three cancer early detection workshops (breast, prostate, colorectal) delivered through trained and certified lay peer community health advisors in African American churches. 14 churches will be randomly chosen to conduct either the standard Project HEAL program or an integrated Project HEAL strategy where the churches build the program into their organization in multiple ways (e.g., allocating volunteer or paid staff, space, or funds; policy change; ministry development). The project will be conducted in three phases: 1) refining the integrated approach with community and stakeholder feedback; 2) pilot testing the integrated approach in 2 churches; and 3) conducting the study to comparatively evaluate the standard vs. the integrated approaches in 14 churches. A scientifically rigorous evaluation plan will be used to look at outcomes at both the individual and the church level. This project will make important contributions to research in evidence-based medicine and sustainability. In a climate of limited resources, identifying sustainable and effective ways to increase cancer awareness and screening in African American men and women is more important than ever.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03178383

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Recruitment Status: Open


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