Journal Articles

Publication Date



BMC Public Health


BACKGROUND: Faith-based health promotion has shown promise for supporting healthy lifestyles, but has limited evidence of reaching scale or sustainability. In one recent such effort, volunteers from a diverse range of faith organizations were trained as peer educators to implement diabetes self-management education (DSME) classes within their communities. The purpose of this study was to identify factors associated with provision of these classes within six months of peer-educator training.

METHODS: This study used the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) to identify patterns from interviews, observations, attendance records, and organizational background information. Two research team members thematically coded interview transcripts and observation memos to identify patterns distinguishing faith organizations that did, versus did not, conduct DSME classes within six months of peer-educator training. Bivariate statistics were also used to identify faith organizational characteristics associated with DSME class completion within this time frame.

RESULTS: Volunteers from 24 faith organizations received peer-educator training. Of these, 15 led a DSME class within six months, graduating a total of 132 participants. Thematic analyses yielded two challenges experienced disproportionately by organizations unable to complete DSME within six months: [1] Their peer educators experienced DSME as complex, despite substantial planning efforts at simplification, and [2] the process of engaging peer educators and leadership within their organizations was often more difficult than anticipated, despite initial communication by Faith and Diabetes organizers intended to secure informed commitments by both groups. Many peer educators were overwhelmed by training content, the responsibility required to start and sustain DSME classes, and other time commitments. Other priorities competed for time in participants' lives and on organizational calendars, and scheduling processes could be slow. In an apparent dynamic of "crowding out," coordination was particularly difficult in larger organizations, which were less likely than smaller organizations to complete DSME classes despite their more substantial resources.

CONCLUSIONS: Initial commitment from faith organizations' leadership and volunteers may not suffice to implement even relatively short and low cost health promotion programs. Faith organizations might benefit from realistic previews about just how challenging it is to make these programs a sufficiently high organizational and individual priority.


Community Health Workers, Data Collection, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Faith-Based Organizations, Health Education, Health Promotion, Humans, Leadership, Obesity, Patient Education as topic, Peer Group



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