Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
United in Faith, Health, and Strength: Advancing the Development of Faith - Centered, Community-Based Advance Care Planning within African American Churches
Evidence suggest that there are disparities in palliative care use for African Americans (AA) due to lack of knowledge about palliative and end of life care services, and mistrust of the health care system. African Americans experience poor symptom management, increased illness related suffering, and significant use of hospital intensive care units at the end of life. Black churches are known to be a trusted organization in African American communities and a place for resources. This project presents a novel methodology of partnering with two Black churches in the Baltimore and Washington, DC metropolitan areas to develop and evaluate a faith-centered approach and advance care planning aid. With the support from Pastors of each church, we will engage with leaders and ministers to develop faith centered language to set the context of an advance directive, grounding the introduction to and directions for each question with faith principles. Ministry leaders will receive education on how to facilitate advance care planning education and conversations, ensuring church sustainability for the broader church and community. The outcomes of this study include 1) increased knowledge about palliative and end of life care in African American parishioners/ communities, 2) increased prevalence in advance care planning conversation with completed advance directives within families and 3) provide a culturally congruent advance directive that is adaptable to the broader faith community.