This project originated from the work of Calvary Community Outreach Network (CCON), a faith-based organization that addresses health disparities (e.g., HIV, heart disease, diabetes, trauma and youth) in the African American faith community and from the Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS in Kansas City initiative. CCON’s leaders have addressed HIV in the Kansas City African American faith community for more than 20 years and wanted to support faith leaders in doing so in their own churches beyond the Week of Prayer, which occurs in the first week of March. In using a community-based participatory research approach, faith leaders determined that they could promote HIV testing in their churches if they received training, church-appropriate supportive materials, and other resources.
Therefore, African American church leaders have been involved in every phase of the TIPS research project including establishing the research question, developing the religiously-tailored materials/activities for the TIPS Tool Kit, implementing the project, tracking implementation activities, and assisting with interpreting and disseminating findings. Nearly 30 church leaders across the 14 churches were trained as church health liaisons to implement and monitor the project in their churches. These liaisons delivered the TIPS intervention with their church-community members, which included coordinating their church’s HIV/STD testing events directly with KC CARE and the KCMO Health Department. Additionally, this project created changes in practices within our health partners’ organizations that allowed them to more efficiently collaborate in conducting HIV/STD testing in community settings. The KC FAITH Initiative Community Action Board continues to guide the development and provide feedback on the project.