Date of Conferral





Public Health


Precilla L. Belin


Numerous faith-based organizations (FBOs), denominations, and religious groups are represented in the United States. Faith leaders have the responsibility of addressing the spiritual needs of the congregation; however, the health needs of parishioners may be a point of discussion faith leaders should address. Communities surrounding FBOs may have limited health care services, lack transportation, and have serious health issues. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to explore the experiences of faith leaders on giving health counseling to their congregation. Faith leaders play an essential role in providing health counseling on various health topics to their congregation and community. A total of 15 faith leaders were recruited from 6 counties in North Carolina by convenience sampling. Face-to-face face semi-structured interviews was the data collection method. The transformational leadership theory was used to examine how faith leaders motivate parishioners through constructs of the framework. Using NVivo, a qualitative data analysis software tool, the coded results indicated that faith leaders need specialized training to provide health counseling to parishioners about health issues shared beyond their field of expertise. The insight gained from faith leaders was important to understand the health-related resources needed to improve the health of parishioners. This study may be useful for faith leaders, public health educators, health policy makers, and researchers seeking to understand faith leaders' experiences; it could impact positive social change by providing resources and training needed to combat health-related issues within congregations.