Kitchen Divas: Breast Cancer Risk Reduction for Black Women

Institution: Black Women for Wellness
Investigator(s): Janette Robinson Flint,  - Kimlin Ashing, Ph.D. -
Award Cycle: 2005 (Cycle 11) Grant #: 11AB-3200 Award: $8,000
Award Type: CRC Pilot Award
Research Priorities
Community Impact of Breast Cancer>Sociocultural, Behavioral, and Psychological Issues: the human side

This is a collaboration with: 11AB-3201 -

Initial Award Abstract (2005)
The California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP), on the basis of its scientific peer review and the California Breast Cancer Research Council's programmatic review recommended the award of a research assistance grant to the Black Women for Wellness organization and the University of California, Los Angeles to further develop the Community Research Collaboration (CRC) application submitted for CBRP's funding cycle 11: "Kitchen Divas: Breast Cancer Risk Reduction for Black Women".

The purpose of the award is to enable Ms. Robinson-flint and Dr. Ashing-Giwa to address scientific and collaborative issues raised during the scientific peer review of the above named CRC application.

The work to be conducted during the course of this award is as follows:

  1. Strengthen scientific elements of the application. Specifically, at a minimum, these include:
    • Conduct a thorough literature review to justify the dietary intervention as relevant to breast cancer risk reduction.
    • Outline the process evaluation measures related to: recruitment and retention strategies; strengths and weakness of the intervention considering such factors as scheduling, duration, location; and strengths and weaknesses of the research team.
    • Develop a draft of the in-person post-study evaluation instrument. Testing the instrument on a small group of women receiving the cooking intervention is recommended.
    • Justify the education level of the materials prepared for participants, and adjust these as needed.
    • Prepare materials appropriated for an appendix describing the training of the kitchen divas, the actual educational messages to be delivered, and how the messages are delivered.
  2. Strengthen the collaborative elements of the proposed research collaboration. Specifically, at a minimum, these include:
    • Strengthen the functions of the proposed Community Advisory Board (CAB).
    • Bring additional nutritional intervention expertise to the collaboration.
  3. The results of the work conducted above is to be incorporated in a revised Concept Paper submitted to CBCRP by the deadline of 6:00 pm Thursday, November 3, 2005 and a revised CRC application based on the review comments of the Concept paper by the deadline of 6:00 pm Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006.

Final Report (2006)
African American women are burdened with high rates of significant weight increases and obesity, and are at increased risk for developing pre-menopausal and post-menopausal breast cancer. The purpose of this planning pilot study was to examine the applicability of a culturally and community-rooted breast cancer risk reduction program, “Kitchen Divas” with this population, with the aim of submitting an application for a Community Research Collaboration Award.

The “Kitchen Divas” intervention informs African American women about breast health education and practices, and trains women to modify their dietary behaviors, minimize weight gain and therefore reduce their risk of obesity-related breast cancer. The ‘Kitchen Divas’ program consists of interactive educational, cooking and light physical activity classes.

This pilot study’s goals were accomplished: increased community collaboration and acceptability was assessed, community partnerships were expanded, and the proposal was revised and resubmitted as part of the contract. Results indicate that implementing this intervention in the African American community would be feasible, although there are some challenges. Two series of community forums with diverse community representatives were conducted to discuss the Kitchen Divas project (N=36 participants total), as well as a field trip to Just Taste, a culinary fundraiser event sponsored by the California Women’s Law Center. The community representatives were quite interested with experiencing new foods, new strategies of preparation, tastes, menu and serving ideas. However, lower socioeconomic status community representatives expressed some barriers to potential participation in the Kitchen Divas program including competing demands and lack of utensils in home kitchen, as well as lack of adequate kitchen equipment in low income housing (many only have a microwave as a cooking tool).

In addition, expanded community partnerships were forged. Community agencies are willing and planning to implement this intervention with their service populations. Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council (ECNANDC), Southwest Area Neighborhood Council, Covenant Worship center, and Phillips Temple CME are all seeking to conduct Kitchen Divas series in their respective neighborhoods.