This paper describes a 16-month health education pilot program based on diffusion of innovation and social network theories. The program was implemented by volunteer community liaisons for the purposes of increasing awareness of and support for HIV vaccine research in minority populations. This theoretically driven pilot program allowed the liaisons to integrate delivery of the HIV vaccine research messages created for the program into their existing activities and routines. Through training in participatory engagement, volunteers were able to tailor and adapt an HIV prevention message for their communities. Process evaluation data showed that the acceptance of participatory engagement and HIV vaccine message dissemination far exceeded expectations. The anticipated number of community members to receive the message was estimated at 500 with 10 volunteer liaisons or 50 per person. However, the actual number of people reached was 644, with only 7 volunteer liaisons, or an average of 92 persons per liaison, almost double the original number. Further research is recommended to analyze the specific behavioral changes that can come from the use of social networks in HIV vaccine research awareness within minority populations.
Kelley, R. T., Hannans, A., Kreps, G. L., & Johnson, K. (2012). The Community liaison program: a health education pilot program to increase minority awareness of HIV and acceptance of HIV vaccine trials. Health Education Research, 27(4), 746-754. https://doi.org/10.1093/her/cys013