How did the ALIVE! Research Partnership Begin?
One innovation of this research project is the reciprocal, trust-based relationship that has developed between the pastors of the five congregations and the RUMC researchers. This relationship has been ongoing for the past 3 years. This process began with a clergy forum, where RUMC faculty presented information about clergy self-care. Following the forum, Rev. Alan Ragland of Third Baptist Church of Chicago approached the research presenters from the Rush Center for Urban Health Equity because he knew that pastors needed support for improved health behavior lifestyles before “teaching and preaching” to their congregations. He and a group of pastors met with the RUMC faculty for a six month journey in self-care. Interestingly, the clergy and researchers found that it was the use of scripture during their meetings that deepened the mindfulness of their responsibility for their own behaviors around diet, exercise, and living, and as a result helped to form the ALIVE! Research Partnership.