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One or more keywords matched the following properties of African Americans in Health Science Research: A University, Community, and Faith-

abstract African Americans continue to experience striking health disparities, including shorter life expectancy and higher rates of cancer, heart disease, stroke, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, and infant mortality and low birth weights. To more effectively address these disparities, there is a pressing need for health research that includes African Americans -- and the community organizations that serve them - in the research process. One potential partner for reaching African Americans is the African American church community. African American churches have significant influence and reach with over 50% of the African American population attending church on a weekly basis. We propose to build on our more than 11-year track record of extramurally-funded (e.g., NIH, CDC, SAMSHA, local foundations) health science research with African American churches and community-based organizations (CBOs) to create a new formal partnership, the Heartland Health Network (HHN) based at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The HHN will support collaborative research between an academic health center, an African American faith-based community, and a community-based health service organization. The HHN will focus on overcoming the barriers that each partner faces in order to facilitate health research and dissemination. To achieve this goal we will: 1) formalize our existing network of health researchers, African American faith-based organizations, and a community-based health service organization;2) increase the infrastructure capacity of our partners to efficiently develop and disseminate health science research by enhancing communication and partner relationships, technology support, organizational capacity, and health research and dissemination expertise;3) broaden our network to become a regional entity inclusive of additional churches and other community sectors (e.g., schools, media) to address health disparities affecting African Americans;and 4) achieve sustainability by expanding university institutional support, collaborative submission of grants by HHN partners, and securing foundation support. To assist in facilitating these goals, we have identified a Community Research Associate (CRA) who has extensive experience in developing and implementing health programming in African American churches. The CRA will ensure that representatives of the African American church community are actively involved in all aspects of this application. She will advocate for their interests and ensure that the HHN strives to meet their infrastructure needs. Achievement of these goals will result in several innovations, including more African American church-based health research and dissemination, more culturally competent researchers and health service staff, enhanced understanding of the research process by all partners, enhanced ability to adapt/develop culturally-appropriate health interventions, and an increased number of health disparities addressed with at-risk African Americans. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: African Americans continue to experience striking health disparities, and are underrepresented in academic health research. This project addresses the need to fully engage African Americans in research, as well as expand the skills and experience of faith and community-based organizations and researchers to develop strategic community partnerships that facilitate research. The potential public health impact is substantial because it will enhance the capacity of the community to implement evidence-based interventions among African Americans.
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