Congregational Health Ministries: A National Study of Pastors' Views

Authors

  • Ana Maria Catanzaro,

    1. Ph.D., R.N., is Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Health Sciences, La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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  • Keith G. Meador,

    1. M.D., Th.M., M.P.H., is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, and Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and Medicine, Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina.
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  • Harold G. Koenig,

    1. M.D., M.H.Sc., is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Professor of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina and Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.
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  • Maragatha Kuchibhatla,

    1. Maragatha Kuchibhatla, Ph.D., is Assistant Research Professor, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.
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  • Elizabeth C. Clipp

    1. R.N., Ph.D., is Bessie Baker Distinguished Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research Affairs, Duke University School of Nursing; Professor, Department of Medicine/Geriatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
    2. Nurse Scientist, Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.
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Ana Maria Catanzaro, La Salle University School of Nursing and Health Sciences, 1900 West Olney Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19141. E-mail: catanzar@lasalle.edu

Abstract

ABSTRACT Objectives: Since the 1980s, there has been a growing, but little studied, movement that organizes church-based health services under the direction of a coordinator, usually a registered nurse. These Congregational Health Ministries (CHMs) emphasize health promotion and disease prevention. We compared the perceptions of pastors with and without organized CHMs and the characteristics of their congregations' health ministries.

Design: We used a quantitative, cross-sectional survey design.

Sample: We surveyed a national multidenominational sample of 349 pastors representing over 80 Christian denominations.

Results: With limited resources, CHMs provide significant health promotion, disease prevention, and support services. Pastors with CHMs were significantly more involved in health promotion and disease prevention activities. Pastors without CHMs perceived a need for congregations to be involved in health-related services and were willing to become involved if they have adequate resources.

Conclusions: Because of long-term trusting relationships that exist between congregants and those who minister to them, religious congregations may be ideally suited to provide cost-effective, community-based health promotion and disease prevention services as well as health-supporting services to community-dwelling elderly and persons with chronic illnesses.

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