The Community Wellness Program (CWP) is a community-based health promotion model that has been implemented in the African American community in North Florida. The specific purposes of the CWP are to increase health awareness and to improve health practices in Black families. The CWP, which has been implemented as a one-day seminar held during Black history month in February, encompasses a keynote speaker, breakout sessions, a clinic, exhibits from local health care organizations and pharmaceutical companies, and continental breakfast and lunch. The CWP has planning components (lead organization, co-sponsors, advisory committee) and the program itself (content/program sessions, clinical services, and exhibits).

The content of CWP has consistently focused on prevention of and intervention for chronic diseases, especially those that are of high incidence in the two-county region. Speakers delivering the content sessions included dietitians, medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and mental health specialists. In addition to the speakers, participants had the option of making use of clinical services and viewing exhibits.

Outcomes of CWP are promising. Data were collected from adult participants (n=106) immediately following the seminars over five year period, and, retrospectively, from a sub-set of mid-life and older Black women who had attended CWP over time (n=20). CWP was successfully sustained over five years with stable participation, key content focused on chronic diseases, and positive ratings from participants. Respondents perceived that CWP increased their health awareness, increased their readiness for changing health behaviors, and, to a lesser extent, changed their health behaviors. Considering the health issues of African Americans as they age, effective models are needed yet few are documented. CWP has promise of improving the health of Blacks in a community setting.

Publication:

Ralston, P., Furlow, J., Hart, C., Baker, L., Dilworth, L., and Ford, C. (2007). The Community Wellness Program: An Intergenerational Seminar for African Americans. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved., 18(1), 21-27.