M.E.S.S.: An Evaluation and Validation Project
PI: Dolores B. Scott, MEd; Co-PI: John R. Ureda, MPH, DrPH; CameliaVitoc, MD, MPH; Michael Gibson, MPH, MD
Introduction: Exposure to secondhand smoke has been identified as a serious health problem, especially among African American women and children. M.E.S.S., a collaborative effort between the faith community and state agencies, is designed to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke by creating voluntary smoke-free environments.
Purpose: Using a community-based participatory research approach, this pilot project seeks to evaluate and validate M.E.S.S. as a model for reducing exposure to secondhand smoke in faith-based community settings.
document the success of implementing M.E.S.S. in three African American churches in Greenville County, South Carolina;
describe the impact of M.E.S.S. on knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, practices, and policies relating to the purpose of M.E.S.S.;
utilize lessons learned on how M.E.S.S. may be implemented in other faith-based and community settings.
Methods: The research design, developed to accomplish the specific aims of this project, utilized a prospective cohort design with an external control comparison group. The State Baptist Young Woman’s Auxiliaries (YWA) from the New Jerusalem, Springfield, and Mountain View Baptist Churches volunteered to participate in the project. Three YWAs from each church were chosen to serve as coordinators. All were provided a comprehensive training by a team that included a physician who is a preventive medicine specialist.The training encompassed four key components: Introduction to Tobacco, Secondhand Smoke and Passive Smoking, M.E.S.S. 101, and Developing an Action Plan.
Baseline surveys, pre- and post-evaluation tests, tobacco-free policy and pledge motivation were utilized as the primary components in the study. Interventions included:
hosting educational and information sessions about tobacco and secondhand smoke;
developing small print media and bulletin facts sheets; and
encouraging participants to commit voluntarily to adopting and enforcing smoke-free environments.