Culturally Responsive Health Promotion to Address Health Disparities in African American Men: A Program Impact Evaluation

Olihe N. Okoro, Chantele S. Nelson, Stephan P. Witherspoon, Salaam F. Witherspoon, Glenn E. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


African American (AA) men continue to experience worse health outcomes compared to men of other races/ethnicities. Community-based interventions are known to be effective in health promotion and disease prevention. The program objectives were to (a) increase knowledge and risk awareness of targeted conditions, (b) change health-care-seeking attitudes toward regular primary care among AA men, and (c) improve their lifestyle-related health behaviors by leveraging the influence of women in their lives. The community-engaged educational intervention targeted both men and women and included eight 90-min sessions per cohort. Topics included prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health, health-care access, and healthy lifestyle. Sessions were both didactic and interactive. A pre-/post-intervention questionnaire assessed knowledge. Interviews were conducted with male participants and a focus group discussion (FGD) with women to assess program impact. Interview and FGD transcripts were analyzed for themes and recommendations. Major themes were—increased knowledge/awareness of risk associated with chronic conditions, change in health-care-seeking attitudes, increased self-efficacy to engage the health-care system, and lifestyle changes. Other impacts reported were building community/social support, a safe and enabling learning environment, and enhanced community health status overall. Recommendations included having extended, more in-depth sessions, targeting the younger generation, smaller cohort sizes, and more community-based health programming. Community-engaged health promotion using a cohort model as well as including women can be effective in increasing knowledge, enhancing self-efficacy, and providing the much-needed social support. These can influence health-related behaviors and thus contribute to improving health outcomes for AA men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Men's Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 26 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The community-based approach of the intervention and particularly the inclusion of women served to enhance health not just for the men as targeted by the study but reportedly for others in the community through diffusion of the knowledge gained. This outcome is supported by the social network theory. Some community members who did not participate in the study have since reached out to the investigators indicating their interest in participating in any future project.

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Research conducted by the authors was supported by the Center for Healthy African American Men through Partnerships (CHAAMPS); CHAAMPS is made possible through NIH grant U54MD008620. The administrative home of the collaborative is at the University of Minnesota, with physical locations on both the University of Minnesota (UMN) and University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) campuses.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • African American
  • Prostate cancer
  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • health inequality/disparity
  • health-care issues
  • oncology/cancer
  • physiological and endocrine disorders

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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