Engaging an African American church-based community in developing a technology focused virtual reality hypertension program

Online Publication Date:
March 4, 2022
Publication Status:
Awaiting Publication
Manuscript PDF File:

**Forthcoming in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP). All rights reserved.** ABSTRACT Background: African-Americans are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease and hypertension. To address this, we partnered with local church leaders in developing a virtual reality (VR) hypertension reduction program. Objectives: A community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach was adopted to develop a hypertension education program using VR, incorporating feedback from the African American church congregation members. Methods: Using a qualitative approach, a modified Delphi exercise, and member checking, the research team collaborated with congregation members who provided feedback and assisted in the development of the intervention. Lessons Learned: Incorporating feedback from church members significantly impacted the educational platform. Encouraged by the reverend, church members were engaged and participated in the 10-week program designed to reduce blood pressure. Novel approaches like VR may need more time to pilot to achieve desired results, particularly with vulnerable populations. Conclusions: This participatory research platform highlights the importance of incorporating external stakeholders throughout the research process in order to develop a meaningful health intervention using new technology that is tailored to the church members.