Developing a church-based diabetes prevention program with African Americans: Focus group findings

John Mark Boltri, Y. Monique Davis-Smith, Luis E. Zayas, Sylvia Shellenberger, J. Paul Seale, Travis W. Blalock, Ada Mbadinuju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to identify resources and barriers to implementing a church-based diabetes prevention program (DPP) in a rural African American church community in Georgia. Methods: In collaboration with community leaders, researchers conducted 4 focus groups with 22 key informants to discuss their understanding of diabetes and identify key resources and barriers to implementing a DPP in the church. Three researchers analyzed and coded transcripts following a content-driven immersion-crystallization approach. Results: The participants' comments on diabetes and prevention covered 5 research domains: illness perceptions, illness concerns, illness prevention, religion and coping, and program recommendations. Program success was deemed contingent on cultural sensitivities, a focus on high-risk persons, use of church resources, and addressing barriers. Barriers identified included individuals' lack of knowledge of risk and prevention programs, lack of interest, and attendance concerns. Solutions and resources for overcoming barriers were testimonials from persons with illness, using local media to advertise the program, involving the food committee of the church, ministering to the healthy and at risk, and acquiring a support buddy. Conclusions: A CBPR approach engaged church members as partners in developing a church-based DPP. Focus groups generated enthusiasm among church members and provided valuable insights regarding barriers and resources for program implementation. This methodology may prove useful in other church-based chronic disease prevention efforts with at-risk populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-909
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes Educator
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)


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