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Consumer Health Resource Information Service (CHRIS)

ORISE partners with NLM to develop faith-based information service to combat health disparities among minorities

Consumer Health  Resource Information Service (CHRIS)

In support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2010 goal to eliminate health disparities, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) worked with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) to conceptualize and develop a faith-based health initiative for minorities—the Consumer Health Resource Information Service (CHRIS).

How ORISE is Making a Difference

CHRIS was designed based on analysis of national, regional and local disparity data. Participating churches of the program collaborate with community organizations to improve access to health information and health services.

CHRIS focuses on health issues that disproportionately affect minorities, including:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Immunization
  • Cancer
  • Infant mortality

ORISE provides health information training for program coordinators, a comprehensive CHRIS guide for implementing the program nationwide, and a CHRIS tool kit with resources for tailoring and sustaining the program.

CHRIS has been embraced by 29 predominantly African-American churches (including one Hispanic-serving Catholic parish) in Tennessee and North Carolina serving more than 19,000 members. Of these churches, nearly 35 percent were able to jumpstart first-time health and wellness ministries, with 100 percent receiving first-time computers for their ministries and 24 percent receiving first-time Internet connections for their respective churches. A previously unattainable resource due to cost barriers has now become a source of empowerment.

Members testify to their enhanced knowledge and improved health practices. Long-term outcomes will be documented to assess significant lifestyle changes and positive impacts on health disparities.