Connecting Faith and Health
Faithful Families recognizes that faith communities play a special role in supporting their community’s health and decreasing health disparities. They offer unique resources and perspectives to connect a community’s faith or religious traditions with messages about long-term health. Faithful Families builds on the connection between health and faith at multiple levels of the socioecological model – through individuals, interpersonal relationships, organizational policies and practices and environment, and the broader community. The program trains and brings together facilitators (nutrition and health educators) and Lay Leaders (non-clergy members) to co-deliver the program in faith settings.
Lay Leader Training
Lay Leaders are vital to the program’s success, as they help to ground health messages in the community’s faith and religious tradition. Lay Leaders are trained to promote the program, co-teach the curriculum, act as liaisons between the health educator and the faith leaders, promote individual and organizational changes, connect their faith communities to resources, and help the faith community extend their reach into the local community.
Over the course of the program, Faithful Families engages each faith community in direct peer education, policy and environmental supports, and community engagement.
Program facilitators and Lay Leaders are trained to co-deliver the Faithful Families curriculum. Through group discussions, recipe taste tests, and activities, individuals and families are encouraged to set goals for leading healthier lives.
Throughout the program, program facilitators work with each faith community to implement policy and environmental changes they can make to support their members’ health.
As the program progresses, facilitators help faith communities connect to community and clinical programs and resources. Faith communities can also advocate for community health by participating in local coalitions and by using their particular resources to support community health initiatives.