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The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) has been used to assess individual readiness for health behavior change. We describe our use of the TTM to assess African American churches’ organizational readiness to participate in the Church Challenge (CC) in Flint, Michigan; the processes that moved churches toward readiness for change; and lessons learned. The CC was a faith-based, multilevel intervention intended to reduce chronic disease risk. A community-based participatory approach was used to engage and recruit 70 churches. We used the TTM to capture each church’s readiness for change and to track church progress through the model’s five stages. By the end of the CC, 35 remained in Stage 1 (precontemplation), 10 remained in Stage 2 (contemplation), three remained in Stage 3 (preparation), five made it to Stage 4 (action), and 17 finished within Stage 5 (maintenance). Churches engaged in several processes of change as they moved through the various stages. Utilizing processes of change, establishing rapport, and having previous participants share success stories helped move churches from stage to stage. However, certain barriers prevented progression, such as scheduling conflicts and burnout/trauma from the Flint water crisis. Faith-based organizational readiness greatly impacted participation in the CC. Researchers should utilize established social capital, build rapport, and remain flexible when working with African American churches. Although traditionally used at the individual level, the TTM works well at the organizational level to assess and monitor church readiness to participate in community-engaged research and health programming to improve health in an African American faith community.


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20 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • Using the TTM to Assess and Monitor Organizational Readiness

  • Journal title
    • Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship

  • Volume
    • 14

  • Issue
    • 2

  • Date submitted

    20 July 2022

  • License
  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      We would like to acknowledge our community partners: Community Outreach for Family and Youth Center, who assisted with the implementation of this project; and Bridges Into the Future, Inc, who collaborated with the Flint Center for Health Equity and Solutions and Community Based Organizations Partners in the development of this project. We would also like to acknowledge our faith-based community partners who were integral to the development and recruitment of the project. We would like to thank our consultants Dr. Ken Resnicow (academic consultant) and Pastor Todd Yeary (academic and faith leader consultant). We especially want to thank the church leadership and participants, whose efforts made this study possible. Finally, we would like to thank the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health for providing funding for our study (grant #U54MD011227). Drs. Key, Sneed, and Johnson-Lawrence were also supported by the Michigan Center for Urban African-American Aging Research from the National Institutes of Health (grant P30 AG015281). Dr. Key was also supported by grants from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (K01MD015079) and the National Institute on Aging (R24AG065151).