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University of Missouri-Kansas City Researchers Get $3.2 Million to Assess Churches' Role in HIV Testing

May 2, 2014

This article was reported by the Kansas City Business Journal.

The Kansas City Business Journal reported that the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health awarded a $3.2 million grant to the University of Missouri-Kansas City's (UMKC) Department of Psychology to study religiously appropriate HIV intervention strategies in African-American churches. The grant extends the "Taking it to the Pews" program, which approximately 30 Kansas City churches and 12 churches in Montgomery, Ala., use currently, into a full-scale clinical trial.

"The church is a trusted institution in the African-American community and can serve as a powerful setting in improving the health of its congregants along with community members served through church outreach ministries," said Jannette Berkley-Patton, assistant professor at UMKC and principal investigator on the grant.

The study will attempt to ascertain whether HIV intervention programs tailored for churches will increase HIV screenings and decrease risky sexual behaviors. The program saturates HIV information into many church offerings, including services, bulletins, posters, testimonials, and Sunday school programs.

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