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BMC Health Serv Res. 2015 Apr 9;15:147. doi: 10.1186/s12913-015-0735-1.

Enhancing organizational capacity to provide cancer control programs among Latino churches: design and baseline findings of the CRUZA Study.

Author information

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University, 112 Packard Ave, Medford, MA, 02155, USA.
Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and PublicPolicy, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.
Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and PublicPolicy, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA. sarah.rustan@umb.edi.
National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and PublicPolicy, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.
Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA.



Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have been successful in delivering health promotion programs for African Americans, though few studies have been conducted among Latinos. Even fewer have focused on organizational change, which is required to sustain community-based initiatives. We hypothesized that FBOs serving Latinos would be more likely to offer evidence-based strategies (EBS) for cancer control after receiving a capacity enhancement intervention to implement health programs, and designed the CRUZA trial to test this hypothesis. This paper describes the CRUZA design and baseline findings.


We identified Catholic parishes in Massachusetts that provided Spanish-language mass (n = 65). A baseline survey assessed organizational characteristics relevant to adoption of health programs, including readiness for adoption, "fit" between innovation and organizational mission, implementation climate, and organizational culture. In the next study phase, parishes that completed the baseline assessment will be recruited to a randomized cluster trial, with the parish as the unit of analysis. Both groups will receive a Program Manual and Toolkit. Capacity Enhancement parishes will also be offered technical support, assistance forming health committees and building inter-institutional partnerships, and skills-based training.


Of the 49 parishes surveyed at baseline (75%), one-third (33%) reported having provided at least one health program in the prior year. However, only two program offerings were cancer-specific. Nearly one-fifth (18%) had an active health ministry. There was a high level of organizational readiness to adopt cancer control programs, high congruence between parish missions and CRUZA objectives, moderately conducive implementation climates, and organizational cultures supportive of CRUZA programming. Having an existing health ministry was significantly associated with having offered health programs within the past year. Relationships between health program offerings and other organizational characteristics were not statistically significant.


Findings suggest that many parishes do not offer cancer control programs, yet many may be ready to do so. However, the perceptions about existing organizational practices and policies may not be conducive to program initiation. A capacity enhancement intervention may hold promise as a means of increasing health programming. The efficacy of such an intervention will be tested in phase two of this study.

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