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ORISE’s CHRIS Program Expands to Include Eight Churches from Charlotte, N.C.

July 7, 2009

Rose Marie Womble and Nicole Dancy

Pictured L to R: Rose Marie Womble, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education’s Consumer Health Resource Information Service (CHRIS) project manager, and Nicole Dancy, National Library of Medicine representative, welcome eight new churches from Charlotte, N.C., to the CHRIS program at a recent ceremony held at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte. Not pictured: Addie Lisby, CHRIS program network development consultant from Charlotte. Click image to enlarge.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education’s (ORISE) Consumer Health Resource Information Service (CHRIS) program is one step closer to replicating its initiative on a national level. CHRIS—a program that originated in Tennessee and has been replicated 21 times within the state—has recently added eight churches from Charlotte, N.C.

CHRIS—an initiative administered by ORISE and funded by the National Library of Medicine (NLM)—helps to eliminate health disparities such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality and immunization by equipping participating faith-based congregations with computer workstations and Internet access. A designated program coordinator is then trained to access consumer health information from the NLM Web site and other trusted online sources, and works to disseminate the information to its respective community members.

“The CHRIS program is an ideal approach to address health literacy and the challenge of health information disparity for all communities, especially minorities and underserved populations,” said Nicole Dancy, NLM representative. “CHRIS ensures access to quality health information for all communities, which is a primary objective of the National Library of Medicine. We are proud to fund this initiative.”

The eight Charlotte churches recently added to the program include:

  • C.N. Jenkins Presbyterian Church
  • East Stonewall AME Zion Church
  • First Baptist Church - West
  • Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church
  • Little Rock AME Zion Church
  • New Life Fellowship Church
  • Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
  • Rockwell AME Zion Church

The churches were recognized for their CHRIS participation during a recent launch ceremony and city proclamation, which took place at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte.

“We were able to gain access into the Charlotte community through a contact from our pilot project,” said Rose Marie Womble, CHRIS project manager. “So with the addition of the Charlotte churches, we’re closer to fulfilling our original vision—to replicate CHRIS on a national level.”

“Local and federal organizations are collaborating with churches that are embracing initiatives like the CHRIS Program,” said Womble. “The innovative partnerships formed [in Charlotte] will greatly assist with addressing health disparities.”

As the first faith-based program to address multiple health disparities, CHRIS serves more than 2,100 African Americans and Hispanics through its current church programs in Tennessee.

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy institute focusing on scientific initiatives to research health risks from occupational hazards, assess environmental cleanup, respond to radiation medical emergencies, support national security and emergency preparedness, and educate the next generation of scientists. ORISE is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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