Training Community Health Advisors in African American Churches: Do Training Outcomes Predict Performance?

  • Annette E. MaxwellEmail author
  • Aziza Lucas-Wright
  • Juana Gatson
  • L. Cindy Chang
  • Catherine M. Crespi


Programs that utilize Community Health Advisors (CHAs) to promote cancer screening are effective in community settings. However, predictors of CHA performance are not well understood. From 2016 to 2018, we partnered with 9 African American churches in South Los Angeles and trained 49 CHAs to promote cancer screening in an effort to build capacity for health promotion in a low-resource community. This paper examines CHA characteristics and training outcomes in African American faith-based settings and explores the relationship of these variables to successful recruitment of participants by CHAs. Pre- and post-tests showed statistically significant increases in knowledge of colorectal cancer screening guidelines (4 items) and human subjects protection rules (5 items) and CHAs’ perceived self-efficacy to perform specific tasks for the study (13 items, Cronbach’s alpha > 0.90). There were no significant differences between active CHAs who recruited at least 10 participants (N = 29) and inactive/less active CHAs (N = 20) with respect to demographic characteristics and training outcomes. We report challenges and facilitators to recruitment from CHA debriefings at 12 months follow-up. Based on our findings, we make recommendations for future studies to move this field forward.


Training of community health advisors African American churches Cancer screening promotion 



This work was supported by the Charles R. Drew University/UCLA Cancer Center Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities, NIH/NCI no. U54 CA143931. CMC was also supported by NIH/NCI grant P30CA16042. We would like to thank the leaders of the African American churches and the Community Health Advisors who participated in this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This study was approved by the University of California Los Angeles Institutional Review Board and all CHAs and study participants provided informed consent.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer CenterUCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health EquityLos AngelesUnited States
  2. 2.Division of Cancer Research and TrainingCharles R. Drew University of Medicine and ScienceLos AngelesUSA

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