Reach and Capacity of Black Protestant Health Ministries as Sites of Community-Wide Health Promotion: A Qualitative Social Ecological Model Examination

Tyler J. Fuller, Danielle N. Lambert, Ralph J. DiClemente, Gina M. Wingood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Black communities in the Southeast United States experience a disproportionate burden of illness and disease. To address this inequity, public health practitioners are partnering with Black Protestant churches to deliver health promotion interventions. Yet, the reach of these programs beyond the organizational level of the Social Ecological Model (SEM) is not well defined. Thus, the aim of this study is to understand Black Protestant church leaders’ and members’ perceptions about the capacity of their ministries to reach into their communities, beyond their congregations, as providers or hosts of health education or promotion interventions. From 20 Black Protestant churches in Atlanta, GA, 92 church leaders and members participated in semi-structured interviews. Grounded theory guided data analysis and a diverse team coded the interviews. Most participating churches had health ministries. Participants saw the boundaries between their churches at the organizational level of the SEM and the broader Black community to be porous. Those who described their “community” as being broader than their congregation also tended to describe community-wide health promotion their church engaged in. They described church-based health fairs as a strategy to promote engagement in their communities. Some participants, particularly those in a health-related profession, discussed visions of how to utilize their church as a site for community-wide health promotion. We suggest these participants may be boundary leaders who can build relationships between public health professionals, pastors, and congregants. Based on the findings, we suggest that church-based health fairs may be effective sites of community-wide health promotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • African American
  • Black church
  • Boundary leader
  • Faith-placed
  • Health fairs
  • Social Ecological Model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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