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In many communities churches are a primary partner in community health. By uniting the best practices of public health and congregational-based principles emphasizing wellness, wholeness, prevention, and education, churches can influence people's values and life choices, and enable them to assume responsibility for their own health. A survey conducted by the Congregational Health ReSource, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health Office of Minority Health and Public Health Policy, will report the findings from four rural communities that participated in a pilot congregational health assessment.
Many churches with health ministries understand the concept of congregational health. For those churches that don't already have health ministries, this concept provides a way of improving the health of church members without increasing the existing workload of leadership. When introduced to the idea of congregational health, most churches are eager to begin developing health ministries. How can we leverage churches as a force multiplier to decrease gaps in health equity, develop partnerships, and educate the public?