March 31, 2012

Developing a Culturally Based Cardiac Rehabilitation Program: The HELA Study

Mele A. Look, Joseph Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula, Amy Carvalho, Todd Seto,
Mapuana de Silva

Progress in Community Health Partnerships

Heart disease disproportionately affects Native Hawaiians and other Pacific people. In response, researchers proposed and communities endorsed, developing a cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program based on the hula, a Native Hawaiian dance form. The utilization of cultural practices in health interventions can improve outcomes and increase enrollment and retention, but requires sensitivity and understanding. Objective—This paper provides the conceptual framework and methods used for integration of multiple communities’ perspectives to inform the design of a hula-based CR intervention. Methods—Specific strategies and processes were established to ensure the equity of scientific— clinical and patient—cultural knowledge and perspectives. Multiple methods were used and a flow diagram defined steps for the intervention development. Results—Patient and cultural consultations provided information about the multidimensional benefits of hula and its use in a CR intervention. Clinical and scientific consultations provided specific guidelines for exercise prescription and patient monitoring. Integrating findings from all consultations identified important direction and requirements. Conclusions—Community-based participatory research (CBPR) principles guided a complex collaboration of multiple communities; although time consuming, inclusive consultations provided valuable information and relationships.

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