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Keywords:

  • African Americans;
  • capacity building;
  • cultural competence;
  • tobacco control

ABSTRACT Objective: The purpose of this study was to understand the processes and interactions that African American tobacco control organizations use to engage African American communities in tobacco control efforts.

Design and Sample: The study used grounded theory methods to interpret participant's perspectives on tobacco control. The study sample consisted of African American tobacco control program directors from African American tobacco control organizations throughout the United States.

Measures: Data collection involved 1 interview per participant using a semistructured interview at a location selected by the participant. Each interview lasted approximately 30–90 min.

Results: The results showed that organizations used specific strategies to involve African Americans in tobacco control. The tobacco control organizations built community capacity using 3 processes: developing relationships and partnerships, raising awareness, and creating collective power.

Conclusion: Contextual, cultural processes, and historical references used by African American tobacco control organizations provide insight into how to engage African American communities in tobacco control efforts and achieve tobacco-related health parity. Public health professionals and nurses should be aware of these and other strategies that may increase the involvement of African American communities in tobacco control.