JaWanna L. Henry

Participant: PROMISE AGEP Research Symposium

JaWanna L. Henry
: Epidemiology and Public Health
Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore


Assessment of Community Organization in Designing a Dissemination Plan for Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Findings to the Faith-based Community : The Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment, Washington D.C.

In community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects, data dissemination to community members is linked to the sustainability of a project, as measured by improved health behaviors and outcomes. However, little is known about the best methods for dissemination of study findings when accounting for community organization, or the coming together of communities to address specific issues.  This project assesses community organization for the development of a data dissemination plan to faith-based organizations as a part of a CBPR project called the Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment in Washington, DC.   Focus groups were used to develop culturally appropriate surveys for the health and needs assessment to assess cardiovascular health factors.  Using three churches from the focus groups, 24 church members will be recruited to attend one of three meetings.  At these meetings, participants will complete the Community Organization survey.  This survey will attempt to assess the current levels of empowerment, community capacity, and social capital as potential facilitators or barriers of dissemination of the study data to the wider faith-based populations and to the broader Washington D.C. community.   Focus group data will be presented with time for discussion.  The review of themes from the data will provide an in-depth assessment of issues relevant to the community and aid in the determination of appropriate information and processes for dissemination.  Utilizing the core concepts of community organization, a dissemination plan will be developed that offers information and an opportunity to empower the community and be further engaged throughout the research initiative.


JaWanna L. Henry is a native of South Carolina. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC. Currently, JaWanna is a Master of Public Health candidate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
She has had the opportunity to travel to various places within the US and abroad to work within several communities and non-profit organizations as an Americorps and Global Brigades member, respectively. Because of her service she was awarded the Bronze Congressional Award as well as The President’s Volunteer Service Award.

While pursuing her degree, JaWanna has worked as a research assistant at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on the B’more Healthy Community for Kids project. She also served as a student research assistant on Transforming the Use of Culture in Health Research for the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). JaWanna has created wellness-promotion curricula and facilitated data collection for other projects at NIH.

JaWanna’s graduate project is Methods for Dissemination of Community Based Participatory Research Findings to the Faith-based Community. For her graduate culmination project, JaWanna serves as an associate investigator working with Dr. Tiffany Powell-Wiley on the Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
After graduation, JaWanna plans to continue her work with a focus on community and culture to help develop interventions to decrease chronic disease health disparities.


Community based participatory research (CBPR) methods are used to study hard to reach populations or communities experiencing health disparities. However, in many CBPR studies there are issues that arise, from information dissemination to project sustainability. Dissemination can be linked to the sustainability and success of a project, as measured by improved health outcomes. When information is disseminated to communities, knowledge is transferred that can be used to make changes in behavior by the empowerment of individuals that can lead to increased community capacity. Those changes are more specific to that community which could result in more sustainable projects.

In 2012, a CBPR collaborative was formed between our research group at the National Institutes of Health and community organizations representing high risk communities in Washington, DC, the D.C. Cardiovascular Health and Obesity Collaborative (DC CHOC). The Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment focuses on developing a behavioral intervention to improve CV health in at-risk Washington D.C. communities. This is the first CBPR project for DC CHOC. Early dissemination has helped prevent significant parts of CBPR being omitted in the Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment and proactively seeks to overcome barriers in information dissemination that could arise.

Concepts of community organization are used as a guide in the formulation for plans of action to increase reach of information, motivation, and community capacity. The information gained from the Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment in Washington, DC is intended to foster changes in cardiovascular health risk outcomes for the better within the faith-based community.


Disclaimer: Information on this page has been provided by and is owned by the student presenter.

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