The AME Health-Smart Church Model Program

The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Health-Smart Church Model Program (Health-Smart AME) is a statewide, three-phase program that aims to increase health-promoting behaviors and eliminate obesity and other related health problems among child, adolescent, and adult church and community members. This will be achieved by (a) implementing the evidence-based Health-Smart Behavior Program in a church setting, and (b) customizing this church model to be implemented statewide among AME churches. It is novel in that it (a) is culturally sensitive, evidence-based, practical, and portable; (b) is designed to be implemented in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner by trained church members (i.e., Health Empowerment Coaches); and (c) uses literacy-sensitive tools for increasing health promoting behaviors (i.e., physical activity and healthy eating behaviors, which we call “health-smart behaviors”) among racial/ethnic minority and low-income individuals and families under whatever conditions that exist in their lives.

Development of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Health-Smart Church Model Program

Principal Investigator: Dr. Carolyn M. Tucker
Co-Investigators:
Dr. Penny Ralston, Ms. Ava Parker, Bishop McKinley Young, and Dr. Dorothy Jackson Young

Phase 1: The first phase of Health-Smart AME involved the development of the program. Five churches from two AME 11th Episcopal District conferences were invited to participate in the first phase; a pastor and three other individuals represented each church. During this phase of the program, the investigators (a) evaluated the impact of participating in the program on health-smart behaviors (e.g. health eating and physical activity), (b) worked directly with the pastors and church leaders to identify and address any barriers to implementing the Health-Smart AME in AME churches statewide, and (c) had the pastors and church leaders agree to participate in the next two phases of the program in order to institutionalize Health-Smart AME.

Health-Smart AME Phase 1 Summary

Dr. Carolyn Tucker, Dr. Tya Arthur, Dr. Fredric Desmond, Mrs. Deloris Rentz, and members of Greater Grant Memorial AME – Jacksonville and St. James AME – Orange Park churches

The AME Health-Smart Church Model Program

Principal Investigator: Dr. Carolyn M. Tucker
Co-Investigators:
Dr. Penny Ralston, Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr., and Supervisor Connie S. Richardson

Phase 2: The second phase of the Health-Smart AME is currently being implemented across the state of Florida. This phase involves 21 predominantly African-American/Black churches that have been organized into an intervention/control-group research design in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the Health-Smart AME. Health information such as weight, BMI, and blood pressure was collected and analyzed, along with the prevalence of health-smart behaviors among the target participants (adults and child family members from the AME churches).

Health-Smart AME Phase 2 Summary

Dr. Carolyn Tucker, Dr. Tya Arthur, Mrs. Deloris Rentz, and new Health Empowerment Coach Trainers for AME churches across the state of Florida.

Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Health-Smart AME were funded by the Florida Blue Foundation.