The Heart4Change project is a program to incorporate health topics to improve health in faith-based communities. The Heart4Change project has 4 overall goals: improve overall health and reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease in the congregations; increase relationships within the church body as they participate in the programs together; use the program as an outreach ministry to bring people into the church; and finally, use the program as a way to serve the community
The Heart4Change project is a product of a 3-year HRSA grant that the Lake Cumberland District Health Department started May 1, 2018. We are working with 2 faith-based groups – Centerpoint Church of the Nazarene in Burkesville (Cumberland County) and Dunnville Christian Church in Dunnville (Casey County). These churches were chosen because of the rate of cardiovascular disease in their counties as well as the willingness of the 2 churches to partner with LCDHD on the project.
Heart4Change has initiated the following programs at the churches:
- Baseline and annual biometric screenings by LCDHD
- Church Health Committees established
- Community Gardens with help from Extension office staff
- Cooking Matters/Shopping Tour classes -Extension Office staff & LCDHD
- Diabetes Classes taught by LCDHD Diabetes Educators
- Freedom from Smoking Classes taught by LCDHD Health Educators
- Walking Programs – implemented by church members
- Healthy Eating Programs – implemented by church members
- Gentle Yoga (chair stretching exercises) – lead by LCDHD staff and church members after trained by Marshall team.
- CPR/First Aid classes – taught by LCDHD staff
- Annual community outreach event at each church
- Plus, monthly newsletters and weekly powerpoint messages to help improve health literacy for the congregations.
An additional project goal is to have individuals at the churches trained in many of the programs so that they can continue on after the 3 years for sustainability. Another goal is to implement one health related policy at each church – such has healthy eating policy, smoke free grounds, etc.
At the end of year one, the grant has reached 311 individuals! As we continue into year 2, we have added the Diabetes Prevention Program at Centerpoint and are starting creating short videos about health topics that can be shown to the congregation each week to improve health literacy. We will be adding Stop the Bleed training for the churches in year two as well.
Heart4Change Toolkit – available here.
The Heart4Change toolkit is available so churches can implement the Heart4Change program. If you have any questions about the Heart4Change program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org