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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2009 Nov;20(4):1111-23. doi: 10.1353/hpu.0.0221.

Stirring up the mud: using a community-based participatory approach to address health disparities through a faith-based initiative.

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  • 1Center for Health and Public Service Research, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School for Public Service, New York University, USA.


This case study provides a mid-course assessment of the Bronx Health REACH faith-based initiative four years into its implementation. The study uses qualitative methods to identify lessons learned and to reflect on the benefits and challenges of using a community-based participatory approach for the development and evaluation of a faith-based program designed to address health disparities. Key findings concern the role of pastoral leadership, the importance of providing a religious context for health promotion and health equality messages, the challenges of creating a bilingual/bi-cultural program, and the need to provide management support to the lay program coordinators. The study also identifies lessons learned about community-based evaluation and the importance of addressing community concern about the balance between evaluation and program. Finally, the study identifies the challenges that lie ahead, including issues of program institutionalization and sustainability.

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