Text Messaging as a Method for Health Ministry Leaders to Disseminate Cancer Information

Academic Article


  • Mobile phone-based interventions can play a significant role in decreasing health disparities by enhancing population and individual health. The purpose of this study was to explore health ministry leaders (HMLs) and congregation members’ communication technology usage and to assess the acceptability of mobile technology for delivery of cancer information. Six focus groups were conducted in two urban African-American churches with trained HMLs (n = 7) and congregation members (n = 37) to determine mobile phone technology usage and identify barriers and facilitators to a mobile phone intervention. All participants were African-American, majority were female (80 % of HMLs; 73 % of congregation members), and the mean age was 54 (HMLs) and 41 (congregation members). All of the HMLs and 95 % of congregation members indicated owning a mobile phone. All HMLs reported sending/receiving text messages, whereas of the congregation members, 85 % sent and 91 % received text messages. The facilitators of a text messaging system mentioned by participants included alternative form of communication, quick method for disseminating information, and accessibility. The overall main barriers reported by both groups to using mobile technology include receiving multiple messages, difficulty texting, and cost. Ways to overcome barriers were explored with participants, and education was the most proposed solution. The findings from this study indicate that HMLs and congregation members are interested in receiving text messages to promote healthy lifestyles and cancer awareness. These findings represent the first step in the development of a mobile phone-based program designed to enhance the work of health ministry leaders.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Schoenberger YMM; Phillips JM; Mohiuddin MO
  • Start Page

  • 636
  • End Page

  • 641
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 4