Arkansas ranks 48th in the nation for overall health status and ability to access health care. These poor health rankings highlight the need for innovative and nontraditional approaches, such as engaging the faith community, to improve access to care and health outcomes among Arkansans. Though UAMS has a long history of engaging the faith community, only a few faith leaders have the capacity to engage in research. Overall, faith leaders are seldom approached about engaging in research and when they are, minimal training is available to them. Training is needed to build skills and knowledge to enable them to be equitable partners in research. Therefore, the FAITH Network Research Advocate Training program was developed for faith leaders to increase their knowledge and capacity in health research. However, since the training is currently offered only in English, this is causing barriers for some Marshallese and Hispanic faith leaders to fully engage in research. Therefore, the proposed project is designed to translate and pilot the FAITH Network Research Advocate Training program in Marshallese and Spanish to ensure these faith leaders have an equal opportunity to engage in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR).
Therefore, the objectives of this project include:
To build the Marshallese and Hispanic faith communities’ capacity to engage in partnered comparative effectiveness research and PCOR by providing continuous training opportunities specific to the needs of the faith community in their native language. This will also provide an opportunity for faith leaders to build upon the concept of “community-building-community.” This is when faith leaders with PCOR experience serve as mentors and advisors to those faith leaders who are new to PCOR.
Conduct health needs assessments in a minimum of 10 Hispanic places of worship to identify the research interests and health concerns of the populations using an audience response system to collect survey information. The focus will be on Hispanic places of worship because the community’s health needs have not been documented in Arkansas; however, health needs have been documented, to some extent, in both the African-American and Marshallese faith communities.
Document and disseminate the outcomes of the Arkansas FAITH Network Research Advocate Training program using both process and summative evaluation. In an effort to ensure the community is engaged and diversely represented, a community advisory board (CAB) will play a key role in the development of the FAITH network and its programming. The CAB will include members of the faith community who have served in various roles in PCOR or have expressed interest. The FAITH network will provide ongoing engaged research/PCOR training and partnership development throughout the state.
Faith communities are some of the most trusted institutions in the community and serve as gateways through which health information is delivered. This is especially true in minority communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This enhancement will reach the African-American, Hispanic, and Marshallese faith communities in Arkansas to:
Gain a better understanding of how faith leaders obtain information about COVID-19 and how they decide to act on the information
Gather perspectives from the faith community on its response to COVID-19 and preparations for a new normal
Identify the faith community’s role in building resilience to the pandemic