Health Education Program for the African American Cultural Group

Health Education Program for the African American Cultural Group
The PEN-3 model is an effective tool used in developing a cultural
specific educational program that is locally relevant. This is because
the model helps in identification of the cultural values and beliefs
that affect health outcome within a given community. The health-based
needs of the community are identified through the needs assessment
(conducted through interviews, survey, or focus groups) and the result
of the assessment phase assist health practitioners in formulating the
intervention mechanisms (Okoror, Airhihenbuwa & Shefer, 2012). After the
weaknesses and strengths of the beliefs of the community are identified
health educational program is developed that seeks to promote values
that enhance health outcome and eliminate values and beliefs that result
in disparities in health outcome in the given community. This paper will
provide a discussion of an educational health program targeting an
extended family of the African American community. This will be
accomplished by outlining the positive perception, enablers, and
nurturers that need to be reinforced and the negative ones that need to
be overcome. The paper will address aspects of cultural empowerment
existential, and challenges that are likely to be encountered in the
implementation of the program.
Positive perceptions, enablers, and nurturers that needs to be
Cultural perception includes attitude, knowledge, values, and beliefs
that affect health outcomes and disparity. Perception (beliefs and
attitude) of the African American community is highly influenced by
family history. There some positive perceptions that should be upheld in
order to promote health outcome among the African Americans. For
example, the African American community and community health providers
show considerable concern for the youths at risk of contracting various
diseases. This is a positive perception that should be reinforced with
the formal health care to prevent such diseases in the future.
Enablers include the societal, cultural, structural, and systematic
forces that affect change in a given society (Labonte & Brien, 2003).
The positive enablers that should be enhanced in the African American
community include their openness and willingness to participate in
health-based research. Researchers should take advantage of this by
assessing the issues resulting in health disparities among this
community and formulate effective intervention measures.
Nurturers are the extent to which beliefs, attitude, and actions are
influenced by extended family, friends, or community. Positive nurturers
in the African American community include the high influence of the
family and friends in matters of health. This implies that if health
care providers can educate the society and family members on bets health
care practices, family members and friends will influence themselves in
a way that will enhance healthcare outcome.
Negative perceptions, enablers, and nurturers that needs to be overcome
There are several negative perceptions that have hindered health outcome
and resulted in health disparities among the African Americans. These
factors include lack of knowledge about various diseases, misconceptions
associated with family history, and communication problems on health
issues affecting the community. Negative enablers include the lack of
cultural competence in health education materials, and health care
system. In addition, the provider patient relationship is at times
difficult and this hinders effective delivery of health care. Negative
nurturers include the passive contribution of community members to
health issues, which reduce the delivery of effective health care
services. This should be overcome in order to reduce health outcome
disparity and enhance healthcare outcome.
Cultural empowerment
The positive aspect of cultural empowerment that should be enhanced in
the African American community includes the support of extended family
in supporting healthy behaviors. Members of the African American
community encourage other members to participate in healthy behavior
such as exercise and discourage the unhealthy behavior such as sneaking
diabetic sweets. However, there are several aspects of cultural
empowerment that should be overcome. First, the sense of denial of an
infection and stigma reduces the tendency of the community members to
address the risk factors and formulate disease prevention mechanisms.
Secondly, the African Americans have the tendency to rely on the opinion
of other members and experience of other members suffering from a given
disease to enlighten themselves about the disease. This implies that
they rarely seek for professional advice, and this may hinder health
outcome. Third, African Americans lack trust with physicians, which
makes them provide the only part of information that requested by
physician. They neither ask for further advice nor do they give
information that could be pertinent to their health, but was never asked
(Cowdery & Parker, 2010). However, there are some existential factors
that may not be associated with health disparity and poor health
outcome. These factors include believes in traditional healing, and
health leaders being a source of support.
Challenges of planning and implementing health education program
Challenges in planning and implementation stages may occur on the side
of patients and physicians. For example, lack of cultural competency on
the part of health care providers may limit their ability to use
culturally sensitive messages. Consequently, this may limit the capacity
of health care educators to address health issues affecting the minority
groups such as the African American community. The African American
community, on the other hand, lacks the necessary clarity in the health
interventions proposed after the assessment program. This may reduce the
community’s commitment and active participation in the planning and
implementation processes.
In conclusion, African American is one of the minority communities whose
health outcome and disparity is caused by its own beliefs and values.
However, there are positive and negative aspects of values and beliefs
that need to be considered in designing community empowerment programs
with the objective of enhancing health outcome and reducing health
disparity in this community. The positive aspects include the high
degree of concern that the community shows for the youths who at risk of
contracting various diseases and willingness to take part in
health-based research. The negative aspects that hinders health outcome
include limited knowledge on health matters, lack of cultural
competence, and passive participation in health care delivery. In
addition, interventions for cultural empowerment should address the
reliance on the experience of family members to learn various health
Cowdery, E. & Parker, S. (2010). Application of the PEN-3 model in a
diabetes prevention intervention. Journal of Health Disparities Research
and Practice, 4 (1), 26-38.
Labonte, R. & Brien, M. (2003). Empowerment social action through
narratives of identity and culture. Health Promotion International, 18
(1), 33-39.
Okoror, T., Airhihenbuwa, C. & Shefer, T. (2012). Stigma, culture, and
HIV and Aids in Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of Black Psychology,
35 (4), 407-428.