Identifying and Exploring Capacity and Readiness of Faith-Based Organizations Implementing Lifestyle-Related Chronic Disease Health Programs
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Background: Lifestyle-related chronic disease is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States, accounting for more than 63% of deaths. Minority communities experience a disproportionate burden of adverse health outcomes related to these diseases. Collaborative partnerships with faith-based organizations (FBO) present a unique platform to effectively implement lifestyle-related health programs, especially in minority communities. Studies have consistently recognized a growing need to improve FBO capacity and readiness to design, deliver, and sustain programs more effectively. Methods: This research includes three phases: 1) preliminary research to gain the perspective of FBO, community, health and research partners actively involved in development and implementation of a collaborative lifestyle-related faith-based health program and to further explore capacity and readiness factors; 2) formative research to develop, pilot, revise, and improve content, format, measures, and implementation of a mixed methods questionnaire, Capacity and Readiness Church Health Assessment (CRCHA), that will further identify and assess FBO organizational capacity and readiness to implement lifestyle-related health and wellness programs; and 3) culminating research to pilot the CRCHA with descriptive and statistical analysis of associations between church characteristics and health programming. Results: Phase 1: Eighteen of 31 capacity and readiness factors were collectively rated as extremely important to participant roles and partnership experience. Qualitative analysis further contextualizes these factors. Phase 2: The CRCHA comprises four major sections with thirteen subsections to gather information about factors, characteristics, and attributes deemed relevant to FBO organizational capacity and readiness. Phase 3: Churches of varying size and capacity successfully completed the CRCHA. Data indicate potential utility for individual churches for self-assessment and capacity and readiness building and for researchers to identify church characteristics most strongly associated with effective health programming. Implications: Exploration of capacity and readiness within a larger and more diverse group of FBO will help to further identify capacity and readiness factors to facilitate active FBO participation in the development and implementation of effective lifestyle-related health and wellness programs. Thus, FBO would be better positioned to actively lead and/or partner in faith-based health programs that address their community's most pressing health issues.
- Doctoral Dissertations