Building Capacity in a Rural North Carolina Community to Address Prostate Health Using a Lay Health Advisor Model.

BACKGROUND - Prostate cancer is a critical concern for African Americans in North Carolina (NC), and innovative strategies are needed to help rural African American men maximize their prostate health. Engaging the community in research affords opportunities to build capacity for teaching and raising awareness.

Approach and Strategies. A community steering committee of academicians, community partners, religious leaders, and other stakeholders modified a curriculum on prostate health and screening to include interactive knowledge- and skill-building activities. This curriculum was then used to train 15 African American lay health advisors, dubbed Prostate Cancer Ambassadors, in a rural NC community. Over the 2-day training, Ambassadors achieved statistically significant improvements in knowledge of prostate health and maintained confidence in teaching. The Ambassadors, in turn, used their personal networks to share their knowledge with over 1,000 individuals in their community. Finally, the Ambassadors became researchers, implementing a prostate health survey in local churches.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS - It is feasible to use community engagement models for raising awareness of prostate health in NC African American communities. Mobilizing community coalitions to develop curricula ensures that the curricula meet the communities' needs, and training lay health advisors to deliver curricula helps secure community buy-in for the information.

Health Promot Pract. 2015 Jul 31. pii: 1524839915598500. [Epub ahead of print]

Vines AI1, Hunter JC2, White BS2, Richmond AN3.

1 The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
2 The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
3 Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, Raleigh, NC, USA.

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