Faith-based Partnerships Offer Great Potential For Expansion Of Arthritis Programs In South Carolina
Arthritis is a serious public health issue in South Carolina affecting approximately one-third of the adult population and limiting activity for 39% of those who have some form of the disease.
With the substantial increase in the funding for arthritis, South Carolina has more resources to expand evidence-based prevention programs through partnerships with faith-based organizations.
Faith communities play a crucial role in the delivery of health programs in SC. This is especially true in rural areas of the state where church-based activities are the center of religious and social life and traditional health programs are not widely available. Because SC is primarily a rural state and the prevalence of arthritis is higher in rural areas, faith-based partnerships offer great potential for reaching people in underserved areas. Faith-based programs are also an excellent way to reach African-Americans who make up 30% of the state’s population and are disproportionately affected by the disabling effects of arthritis.
Nurses and lay health ministers from the South Carolina Congregational Nursing Network, a statewide network of 12 health ministries, are being trained to deliver evidence-based arthritis programs. Qualified nurses will also be trained as Master Trainers to expand and sustain the programs in churches throughout the state.
The Seventh District of the African-American Methodist Episcopal Church, consisting of more than 600 churches, has agreed to offer self-help and exercise programs for people with arthritis statewide as sustainable health ministries.
The Progressive Church of Our Lord Jesus is implementing the Arthritis Foundation Self-Help Program in 7 of its 13 churches statewide. Their goal is to adopt the program as a health ministry service for church members and the broader community.
The South Atlantic Conference of the African-American Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in South Carolina is delivering the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (Living Well) in the Palmetto Conference and plans to expand the program statewide.
- Partnerships developed between state Arthritis Program and faith-based organizations
- Culturally appropriate programs offered in communities throughout the state
- Programs more accessible to African Americans who are disproportionately affected by the disabling affects of arthritis
- Increased accessibility of programs in rural, underserved areas of the state