Assessing the Feasibility of an Online Training Designed to Enable Community Health Workers to Deliver a Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Weight Loss Intervention for Rural African Americans of Faith

Karen Hye cheon Kim Yeary, Songthip Ounpraseuth, Fei Wan, Ilana Graetz, Pebbles Fagan, Anna Huff-Davis, Cameron Kaplan, Kemmian Johnson, Ellen Hutchins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Obesity is a critical modifiable risk factor in cancer prevention, control, and survivorship. Comprehensive weight loss interventions (e.g., Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)) have been recommended by governmental agencies to treat obesity. However, their high implementation costs limit their reach, especially in underserved African American (AA) communities. Community health workers (CHWs) or trusted community members can help increase access to obesity interventions in underserved regions facing provider shortages. CHW-led interventions have increased weight loss. However, in-person CHW training can be costly to deliver and often requires extensive travel to implement. Web-based trainings have become common to increase reach at reduced cost. However, the feasibility of an online CHW training to deliver the DPP in AAs is unknown. The feasibility of an online CHW training to deliver the DPP adapted for AAs was assessed. The online training was compared to an in-person DPP training with established effectiveness. CHW effectiveness and satisfaction were assessed at baseline and 6 weeks. Nineteen participants (in-person n = 10; online n = 9) were recruited. At post-training, all scored higher than the 80% on a knowledge test required to deliver the intervention. All participants reported high levels of training satisfaction (88.9% of online participants and 90% of in-person participants rated the training as at least 6 on a 1–7 scale) and comfort to complete intervention tasks (78% of online participants and 60% of in-person participants scored at least 6 on a 1–7 scale). There were no significant differences in outcomes by arm. An online CHW training to deliver the DPP adapted for AAs faith communities produced comparable effectiveness and satisfaction to an evidence-based in-person CHW training. Further research is needed to assess the cost-effectiveness of different CHW training modalities to reduce obesity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • African American
  • Community health workers
  • Faith
  • Rural
  • Training
  • Weight loss

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