Abstract 11329: Effectiveness of HEALS Hypertension Control Program in African American Communities
African Americans (AAs) living in the “Stroke Belt” (Southeastern US including northern Florida) are at elevated risk for stroke. Our long-term goal is to eliminate these ethnic/regional health disparities by targeting a major modifiable risk factor for stroke, hypertension (HTN). Here we present the results of HEALS (Healthy Eating And Living Spiritually) - a faith-based, socio-culturally tailored HTN control intervention, adopted and modified from PREMIER (including DASH program) for AA churches.
Methods: After providing one-day training to four church members (called church health advisors-CHAs) on 12- months HEALS program sessions as program leaders, eligible members were recruited from the Central Metropolitan CME Baptist church. AA Church members of 25-75 yrs. of age with known or newly diagnosed HTN (including pre-HTN as per JNC-VII) were recruited, who received three months intensive HEALS program followed by 9- month booster sessions (Maintenance).
Results: Among 31 total eligible members, 84% were known HTN and 16% as newly diagnosed HTN. Majority (80%) were on anti-HTN drugs. At the baseline, only three (8%) had HTN controlled (<120/80 mm Hg), 13 (35%) had pre-HTN levels, 15 (40.5%) were stage 1 and 6 (16%) in Stage 2. After receiving 12 wks HEALS program, mean reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were -13.64 mm Hg (p =0.005) and -6.12 mm Hg (p=0.01) respectively. The study is currently in maintenance phase.
Conclusion: the study provides evidence on HEALS program feasibility delivered by the trained church members. The next step is to implement HEALS program widely within Jacksonville, Florida region to assess its effectiveness and sustainability in AA church settings, which represent the most influential institution in the community lives of AAs.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.