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Ethn Dis. 2007 Winter;17(1 Suppl 1):S23-6.

Working across faith and science to improve the health of African Americans.

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College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA.


The 7th Episcopal District African Methodist Episcopal Church represents 23% of African Americans in South Carolina. We describe lessons learned when a large faith community and two research universities collaborate. In 2001, the bishop of the 7th Episcopal District and the president of the Medical University of South Carolina signed a memorandum of understanding on how to collaborate, including the principles of sharing resources, credit, and responsibility. Planning and research committees, with representatives from the church and university, designed and evaluated a website to reduce health disparities and encourage the use of the internet In 2002, with the University of South Carolina as a new partner, we obtained a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote physical activity. Open communications and trust are keys to a successful partnership. This partnership requires people who are dedicated to the principles in the memorandum of understanding, are open to new ideas, and have positive attitudes. Culture clashes present opportunities to strengthen partnerships and new activities to achieve mutual goals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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