Beyond the Cathedral

Building Trust to Engage the African American Community in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

The Center for Minority Health (CMH) at the University of Pittsburgh has developed culturally-tailored strategies for improving the well-being of the African-American community.

Poverty and segregation fuel the health disparity between Pittsburgh’s minority and nonminority populations. CMH has attempted to bridge the knowledge gap between the University of Pittsburgh’s academic health sciences and the nearby African-American community. In 2000, CMH decided to focus on disease prevention and health promotion programs. This article summarizes the achievements of six CMH programs that have actively engaged all segments of Pittsburgh’s African-American population. CMH promotes activities that address health disparity priority areas. All CMH programs build trust, promote public awareness of health issues and establish credibility with the minority community.

Key Findings:

  • In 2007, the Health Advocates in Research (HAIR) program deployed 165 health professionals to provide vital health services at 10 African-American owned barbershops and beauty salons.
  • The Healthy Class of 2010 (HC2010) campaign promotes positive attitudes about healthy lifestyles throughout the Pittsburgh school system. Family and friends recognize HC2010 students as role models for health and wellness.

The CMH has been able to build trusting relationships and develop sustainable public health interventions in the African-American community in Pittsburgh.

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