HEALS Hypertension Control Program: Training Church Members as Program Leaders

Sunita Dodani *, 1, Irmatine Beayler 2, Jennifer Lewis 2, Lindsey A Sowders 2
1 University of Florida College of Medicine, Jacksonville, Florida, USA
2 Duval County Department of Health, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

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© Dodani et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine & Center for Health Equity and Quality Research, University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine, Tower II, 6th floor, 580 W. 8th St., Mailstop T-60, Jacksonville, FL 32209; Tel: 904-244-9859; Fax: 904-244-9234; E-mail:



Health disparities related to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) including stroke have remained higher in the African-Americans (AAs) than in other populations. HEALS is a faith-based hypertension (HTN) control program modified according to AA community needs, and delivered by the church-lay members called church health advisors (CHAs). This study examined the feasibility and acceptability of training CHAs as HEALS program leaders.


Four CHAs completed a 10-hour HEALS program training workshop at the Church, conducted by the nutrition experts. Workshop was evaluated by CHAs on their level of satisfaction, clarity of contents covered and comfort in delivery the program to the church congregation.


The overall six main HEALS curriculum components were completed. Workshop was highly evaluated by CHAs on length of training, balance between content and skills development, and level of satisfaction with program delivery.


Church-based culturally modified health promotion interventions conducted by the community lay members may be a way to reduce health disparities in ethnic minorities.

Keywords: African-american, blood pressure, church-based, hypertension..